Something doesn’t add up. Have you met the “pastor” who says he is all about spreading the gospel but treats people like crap? I have. Heck, I’ve even been guilty of doing the same thing.
When we’re more about advancing ourselves then we are about advancing Jesus, we miss the point entirely. Do we really think our job is to get people to recite a magic prayer and then dump them for the next potential convert?
Hey pastor, look behind you. Is there a pile of bodies in your wake? Are there bloodied people you’ve cast aside because their efforts did not make the cut and achieve your standard of “excellence?” We all know that leadership means we have to occasionally make some changes and do the tough thing, but piles? There shouldn’t be piles.
Picture this, your daughter plays on a softball team. She is struggling to hit. In fact, your careful stat tracking for your eleven year old tells you she is batting .153. What do you do? I hope you don’t tell her she sucks and replace her in your family with someone who hits better. I bet most of us spend time and money helping her improve. We pitch to her, we get her some coaching and we feed quarters into batting cages.
That’s called “equipping.” It’s our responsibility. It’s what we are supposed to do with the people who come across our paths. (Eph. 4:12 “Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ…”)
Yeah, I know the multi-campus thing is reaching people. I know the Holy Spirit uses every model to change hearts. But, if our motivation is to get our face on giant screens all over the place and write best-selling books and be the headliner at conference after conference, we’ve got it wrong. If we cast people aside left and right because they don’t have what it takes to get us the fame we want, we miss the point of the gospel.
Hey buddy, I don’t have a church. Neither do you. Jesus is building His church and he gives us the opportunity to be involved. If we try to make our names famous instead of pointing to the true Famous One we dishonor God. Don’t believe me? Look at Moses and Aaron. (Numbers 20:6-12)
Must we bring water for you out of this rock?
Oops. They made it into a show like they were doing it. “Must WE?” Um, no guys, this is not about you. The result? It was such a big deal to God that they never entered the Promised Land. When we lift ourselves up and present ourselves as somehow better than or more powerful or more godly or … we do not honor God.
Rock star worship leader? You are filthy rags. Right Reverend Pastor man? Filthy rags. Top conference speaker? Filthy rags. Big time writer? Filthy rags. Me? Filthy rags. You? Yes, you too, filthy rags.
It is only by Grace that we are acceptable to God. Those people in our wake? We are no more valuable to God than they are. He has called us to love people and equip them and help them discover their gifts in ministry.
Rather than replace them and cast them aside in a wounded heap, let’s commit to grabbing a roll of quarters and heading to the batting cage with them.
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. Is. 64:6