John Maxwell famously stated: “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”
In churches, we know this to be true: a church becomes like its leadership. When the leadership is good, positive, and effective, the church grows in health and significance. When the leadership is weak and ineffective, the church suffers with unhealthy behaviors.
What is it that pastors never want to teach their people?
First, the pastor never wants to teach his people to fight. Some people simply love a good fight. That attitude in a pastor will create real issues in the church. We have often seen churches become combative and beligerent because of the attitude of the pastor.
As a seminary professor, I used to tell students this simple example. “The first day you get angry and leave a meeting, slamming the door behind you, the next time the group meets someone will do that to you.” While that might not literally happen the next time the group meets, the pastor will have started a series of events in motion that he will regret.
Second, the pastor never wants to teach the people that “it is all about him or them.” People will not long follow those who are looking out for number one. The church can never be the church when its people are looking for what they can receive instead of seeking what they can give. Our attitude must become like that of Christ Jesus who left the privilege of heaven for the sacrifice of His earthly existence.
Third, the pastor never wants to teach the people that some people are more important than others. Many congregations already have wrong views of who’s important and who matters. We all struggle with that tendency.
Jesus called us to do the exact opposite. He cared for the least of these and called us to do the same.
If pastors are going to treat anyone more special, it ought to be the least of these. I believe church people look at that kind of care in this way: they instinctively know that if the pastor cares for those who are least–and can’t give financially, or add to the church’s social prestige–he will also care for me.
Finally, the pastor never wants to teach his people that they can vote anyway they want. Those of us who serve free churches with congregational forms of government can run into this problem. We need to teach our people that we all belong to the Chief Shepherd, that it is His church, and that we must follow Him completely. It is not our decision, it is His.
These are things we never want to teach. We must be those who teach our people to think and act like the Lord and Creator of the church.
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