Church leaders are a strange lot. When I observe their passionate pursuit of leadership, I can only wonder what these men of God would be if they were half as passionate about learning God’s Word and proclaiming Christ. Their steady diet of leadership morsels from today’s leadership gurus is their gospel to proclaim.
The supply and demand of the church leadership product fare is incredibly vibrant, while biblical illiteracy continues to plague the church. The idolatry of leadership is exposed by the Scriptures, even Christ Himself (Mt 23:10). Who even pays attention to these matters? Who even cares? If the church understood how much it suffers by having leaders, instead of pastors, it would care, but because it prefers leaders teaching human potential, church members do not even know they are being neglected.
The devil loves to promote human potential, and this is extended to leadership potential. The world is always clamoring for leaders, and there is never a shortage of leader wannabes. The reason the world demands leaders, when Christ does not, is that money and power are more easily secured through organizations. Church leaders, so-called, are those who feign their love and servitude to Christ, in order to build their organizations. It gives them a purpose and a career.
Promising a Christ who serves His followers human and leadership potential is the marketing ploy. Jesus, of course, helps those who help themselves to build their organizations. “We attend Andy Stanley’s church,” is borderline blasphemy…or is it actually true? Sadly, no one objects to such mischievous misnomers.
As I write my protest against this malignancy in Christ’s church, I have little expectation that my words will change anything. We are reaping what we have sowed. What I believe is that the church needs to forsake church leaders, church leader gurus, and all things oriented to church leadership. The church has Christ Jesus, our Lord, as its Leader (Mt 23:10), and He has sent His Holy Spirit to appoint elders in the local church (Acts 20:28). Along with deacons, these men of God are slaves of Christ, for the purpose of serving His body, the local church.
Shepherding the flock of God is a service job, not a leadership position. Caring for souls is personal, not organizational. It is as if when Christ Jesus promised to build His church (Mt 16:18), that the leader wannabes insisted that was fine, but then they promised to build their prominent church institutions in response. Have you sat down to a meal with your pastor, recently? Ever?
The quest for greater influence in the world, demands the marketing techniques of the world, which are employed to gain customers of a better, church experience product. This, of course, puts local churches in direct competition with one another. Andy Stanley has publicly confessed he is happy to steal other pastor’s sheep, assured that he has a superior product and service to give them. With tens of thousands of sheep to tend to, the quest for organization is primary.
Organizational growth demands hierarchy, and hierarchy puts men in competition to be more competent leaders (think of the child’s game “king of the mountain”). This spawns the lucrative leadership conference industry. Men striving with one another to be the bigger pastor of a bigger church is not what Christ meant when He gave the instruction, “tend My sheep.”
This corporation-like system destroys the little local flock and leaves loving, caring local church pastors without flocks. It also hinders the pipeline of pastors, in favor of leader wannabes. The organism of the body of Christ is replaced by the corporation and its structures.
It only takes a man of God, who knows Christ, to be inspired to learn and proclaim Christ, in order to rectify this misguided pursuit of Christians. He has the task of breaking the addiction of Christians for more programs, demanding more structure, and resembling their secular work place. It is good for a man to seek the position of elder in a local church, but your prowess at gathering, even stealing sheep to lead is not what is required of you. Pastor the flock of God, pastor, and do this by learning and preaching the Word (2 Tim 4:2).
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 1, 2021