Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Leading From Fear

Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you…” (Jeremiah 1:8)

Recently a church leader was asked, “Why is it taking so long for your church to find a new pastor?”

He replied, “Because our search committee is afraid.  They know that certain members of our congregation are quick to pick apart any minister who isn’t like the previous pastor, and they don’t want to take any chances.”

Would you believe that most church leaders operate from fear?

For instance…

--Leaders operate from fear when they are willing to change the direction of the church, its philosophy, its mission, or its structure because of the latest criticisim.

--Leaders operate from fear when they poll the congregation to see what they want in the next pastor… the next program… what the next building should be, and so forth.

The hard reality is that the congregation does not know what it wants or needs, so quit asking them.

The Word of God has already defined what God’s people need.

Lead or get out of the way.

--Leaders operate from fear when they fail to take a position (which is clearly defined by the Bible) because they believe it will be unpopular with certain people in the congregation. That’s why courage is so essential to church leadership.

--Leaders operate from fear when they allow programs to continue even when those programs are no longer effective or are dead in the water.  Two or three squeaky wheels does not mean a mandate for the entire church.

--Pastors may fear being fired or key members leaving the church if they take a stand on a critical issue.  They slip into a rut of being people-pleasers and fool themselves into thinking they are doing well if no one is attacking them.

Leaders who cannot abide criticism have no business in the ministry.

Leaders who are afraid of those whom they have been sent to... should turn in their credentials and become used car salesmen instead.

“Do not fear them,” God told Jeremiah," or "I will humiliate you in front of them” (Jeremiah 1:17).

--Leaders who fear the church business meeting more than they do the Judgment Seat of Christ ought to drop to their knees in shame and ask God for mercy and another chance to get it right!

I know pastors who are deathly afraid that the old people in the congregation will complain if someone brings a guitar into the church service or uses a projector  to project the words on a screen.  The fact is most of the seniors would love those things!  It is the vocal few (you know, the squeaky wheels) who are calling the shots and the spineless pastors are letting them get away with it!

I see churches who turn away from the lost people in their community because of some (super-spiritual types) in the congregation will be offended that the unwashed or the ill-mannered or the untaught or non-white-person are filling their pews (pews which they would prefer to see vacant than occupied by such). 

God help us.

True leaders are servants of the congregation.  However, leaders do not take their orders from the congregation.  We get our orders from the Lord… from God’s written Word.

Let’s get it right, pastor.

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