Whether you are a Lead Pastor or associate staff pastor/director, I have a question for you. Do others think too highly of you as a leader? Have you ever known a church leader who people had placed on a pedestal? Don’t get me wrong. Strong, Godly leadership should be recognized and appreciated. The very real danger, however, is that we can come dangerously close to elevating a pastor’s status to not so far from God. Take a look at an example that even Jesus set for us on this topic.
Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
“Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:16-17 (NLT)
This young man was asking Jesus about having eternal life. Aside from the fact that Jesus is who he is, he answers by clarifying a huge point. I don’t believe Jesus was asking him why he asked the question. I suggest He’s saying, “Why do you ask ME that question?” The ‘One who is good’ that Jesus is highlighting for this inquisitor is God Almighty. This is a clear distinction between Christ and His Heavenly Father. I would argue that Jesus is setting the example for us as leaders of His Church as well.
I have had the unfortunate experience of serving at a church (ok, more than just one) where certain individuals or groups of people came to think so highly of their pastor that he literally could do no wrong in their eyes. I have witnessed issues of weak leadership in the midst of conflict, absence of Godly vision for the direction of the church, and perpetual lying in multiple churches over the years. The cause for this (I would argue) is the inability, or unwillingness, to humbly redirect praises off of ourselves and back to the ‘only One who is good.’
– Its OK to not know the answers to everyone’s questions.
– It can actually be a good thing if everyone in your church doesn’t love you. It keeps their focus (hopefully) on Jesus.
– Leaders who cannot model humility and confess personal weaknesses to their church will not see these traits in those they lead.
What would you agree with, or push back on, in this post? I’d love for you to join the conversation.