by Billy Beasley
Last month, I wrote a column about Satellite and Megachurches. I also touched on leadership. Here is the link, if you missed it.
Being a leader in a church is a difficult position. One reason, I suspect, and one that I am guilty of is that we expect more out of our Pastors.
I think that we can all agree that no church is perfect. If there were such a place it would cease to be perfect the moment I entered.
I have observed a few actions in different churches over the years that I would like to share with you for the sake of conversation.
Ego – I have witnessed ministers who possessed an ego so large that I think they thought that the success of the church was dependent solely upon them. I am not sure how any of us can read all the references to being humble in the Bible and not take it to heart. I suspect that even some of the best Christians lack introspection.
My wife and I have attended Lifepoint for almost six years. There is an amazing growth story that has taken place over the past fourteen years. But I have never witnessed the senior pastor acting arrogantly about it. He has remained humble despite the success.
Nepotism – Pastors who have elevated family members to staff positions they were not qualified or ready for. Churches should have checks and balances. I find myself often not quite as upset with the person who made the poor decision but rather the people around that sat idly by.
We all love the story of the prodigal son. And many of us, including myself have been the prodigal son. Let’s say the prodigal son is the son of a Pastor. After killing the fatted calf and celebrating his return, should the father soon after the event grant him a church leadership job?
1 Timothy 3:6 – He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.
I think the same principle should be applied to someone who has turned away for a season and then returned to Jesus Christ. People need time to grow and to learn from their experiences and certainly, no one is doing anyone a favor by promoting them to a leadership role right away.
Pastors are human and they should be concerned about their family but not at the expense of the body.
Elevating hurting people – How about promoting to leadership hurting people who are not in a good place spiritually to lead? And in the process maybe this person was elevated over others who had served faithfully. I have witnessed this multiple times and I think the reasoning comes with good intentions. They are trying to help the person who is hurting.
Whose church is it? I once was part of a church that had traditional and contemporary services? They wanted to make changes, but I was told by the Pastor that they had to be careful because the heavy tithers were in the traditional service.
I don’t want to be too harsh here. Pastors need their salary too. I will say that anyone who gives money to a church so they can have the church run to their liking is not tithing from their heart.
Let’s just move on – It also bothers me when church leaders don’t want to explain their decisions. The church should be transparent in all areas. Look at all the cover up that has been carried out by the Catholic Church. Can anyone possibly view that as good leadership?
Church leaders will make mistakes. That is a certainty. Some will not be a major problem and are easily corrected. Some will linger and it can become easier to just say the decision has been made. Let’s just live with it. I would say to that.
It is never too late to do the right thing.
It may prove difficult, but I believe it to be well worth the journey.
That includes my decisions, your decisions, and certainly the decisions made by those who lead our churches.
These are just a few examples that I have witnessed. There are more but you get the point.
It can prove more difficult if you really get involved in your church. You are going to witness more and all of it won’t be good. We probably have all observed the cold behavior of religious people. Sometimes, maybe even a preacher or someone on staff.
If you lack warmth and you profess to be a believer in Jesus Christ, it might be time for some self-examination and I don’t care what seminary you graduated from or how intelligent or well-read in the scriptures you are.
The world does not listen to our words as much as they observe us. It is far more important what we do than what we say. I fail at this. I don’t think anyone that really knows me would label me as cold but in a large crowd, my introverted self can be looking for an escape route so intensely that I could easily be deemed unapproachable. It has happened at church.
I realize that it can be easy to throw in the towel and say, “I am done with church.” I have felt that way. But as it is in all things, my wife and I do our best to seek God in our direction and He has yet to tell us to be done with church.
Above all, pray for your church staff. It is a huge job and they need it. If you are finding fault with your church all the time, then perhaps it is time to move on. But leave the possibility open that the problem might be you. It might be me.
I have felt encouraged of late to write about leadership and things that take place in our churches. But my first article in what is turning out to be a series was where leadership begins for all of us. In our homes.
Next month. Worship or Performance on Sunday morning.
About the Author
Billy Beasley resides in Carolina Beach, NC with his wife Julie and their Australian Cattle Dog, Teke. They are active members of Lifepoint Church in Wilmington, NC.
The Preacher’s Letter is his second traditionally published work of fiction.
Billy’s shares two simple beliefs with his favorite character in his first novel, The River Hideaway—Faith in God and a conviction that ‘Hearts have no color’.
His third novel, The Girl in the River, releases summer, 2020.