Destroying the church

I thought this was an excellent (simple) article which is well worth watching out for as a pastor / leader, but also in life in general. It was originally posted here.

Here are four foolish strategies for undermining the work of the local church:

1) Use the church to build your own platform.

People out to use the church care a lot about job titles and push for ones that sound important. When resources are tight they fight really hard for their programs and their projects at the expense of other priorities. Whether they’ll admit it or not, their personal agenda outweighs God’s agenda and mission for the local church.

What repentance looks like: Love the church, don’t use the church.

2) Never say “I’m sorry.”

Two simple words can reveal a humble, repentant heart that admits wrongdoing—even if the wrongdoing was not malicious and simply the result of misunderstanding or lack of information. Those that aren’t able to say “I’m sorry” try to explain everything instead. They cite policy, precedent, or serve up pithy, spiritual answers to justify questionable behavior. A godly leader understands how to walk in the light: confession of sin leads to freedom. Excuses do not.

What repentance looks like: Humbly and sincerely apologize when you blow it.

3) Defend your innocence—even when a whole crowd points out your sin.

Leaders should not tolerate bullies or false accusations, but neither should they resist the credible, unanimous counsel of those genuinely trying to help root out sin. Ultimately, our reputation and our identity must be found in Jesus and not in our perfectionism. We’re a false god.

What repentance looks like: Worship Jesus—not your reputation.

4) Be a black hole. Never communicate.

Information goes in, but nothing ever comes out. Ambiguous, inconsistent, or non-existent communication can be a self-preservation tactic; being non-committal allows a leader to keep his options open and avoid accountability. Politicians use this trick all the time: using lack of clarity to save face or play the hero depending on how events play out.

What repentance looks like: Take responsibility—don’t hide behind politics.

Some of your leaders are killing your church. What’s worse, some of you are killing your church and you may not even realize it. None of us are immune from sin, and all of us need to rely on the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and our church community to persevere in serving Jesus rather than serving ourselves.

Pastor Jamie is Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Church. Hear him teach on church leadership at the Sticky Teams conference in San Diego, October 25–26. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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