Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people…..(Proverbs 28:15).
What makes a good pastor? Is it someone with a tremendous amount of charisma? A leader who can build and grow a church to where it’s bursting at the seems? Someone who publishes books, has their own podcast and has sermons downloaded all over the country?
I can tell you what makes a bad pastor. Someone who is concerned about building their own Kingdom for the grooming of their own ego. There are too many church leaders who aren’t in it for people, but for the growth of the institution they have clung to for their self-worth.
We need to be careful to not let our own hearts be led into such blind rebellion towards God. Even as churchgoers we can be wooed into the same place of self-aggrandizement. When a church grows, we must ask, “what’s making it grow?” Is it love? Is it the outward image it projects? Many churches are growing, not because they’re fruitful for the kingdom and producing true disciples, but because they are giving an outward impression of fruit, but deep down inside they hold no real sustenance.
The problem is that we love big things. It makes us feel more important and significant. We place all the burden on the shoulder of one leader, expecting them to drive the ship where it needs to go, when we all, within the body of Christ have a responsibility to one another. We all have been given the Spirit of Christ.
We cannot, nor will we ever experience church as it was meant to be experienced if we live as people who believe they have it all together. If we make church about some show we can offer to others to entertain and woo their hearts then we have cast out one of the greatest purposes for the church- to love and care for broken people. To be God’s agent to the world to bring Christ to the ends of the earth by making disciples of all nations. Not through attraction, but through multiplication.
Jesus had twelve, that’s it. Twelve people that He poured His life into. Many of our churches are pouring all their time, energy and focus not on the investment of people, but into building an enterprise.
We must guard our hearts over the desire to become something, “big.” I feel my own heart being pulled that direction constantly as if my witness for Christ and my role in the Kingdom would have greater significance. Yet, I am reminded of the life of my Lord, who shepherded a small group of people, investing His talents, gifts, and abilities into seeing them grow into fruitful people. I need that same kind of humility. I need that same kind of love for others.
Lord, forgive us. We have made the church into something we can grow outwardly instead of becoming inwardly. Forgive us for our own self-aggrandizement. We love the praise of people. God, please forgive us for our pride. Give us the grace to love broken people, in Jesus name, Amen.