Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Abusive Power

Today I came across the following quote from John Maxwell:

Consider the "Path to Abusive Power" in leaders:
Stage One: Surprise -- "I get this?"
Stage Two: Self-Esteem -- "I need this."
Stage Three: Satisfaction -- "I deserve this."
Stage Four: Selfishness -- "I demand this."

The Junkster's thoughts on this quote:

Many, perhaps most, pastors start without any expectation of special privilege or personal gain as a result of their position, and are genuinely surprised at whatever blessings or benefits come their way from being a pastor. But over time they may become convinced that they need and deserve the perks that come with a position of power, and eventually expect and demand them as their right.

May God grant pastors who start out and remain humble servants.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Deep Thought

And now, a Deep Thought, from Jack Handy:

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mega Mania

It doesn't take much looking to notice how market-driven many churches have become these days. And it's getting harder and harder to find a church, particularly a large church, that doesn't give at least the appearance of being very focused on material things and being some kind of successful business enterprise.

Just my opinion (and one that won't be popular with some), but the more I think about all this, the more it strikes me as the natural progression of the whole mega-church concept. The existence of local churches composed of thousands or tens of thousands of members is a very recent phenomenon, unique to our modern age – something made possible by technology, easy and relatively inexpensive transportation, mass media communications, affluence, etc. None of these things are bad in and of themselves, and great resources have been made available by bringing so many believers together, united in a common fellowship and purpose. But along with success, popularity, and significant financial and other resources, whether of an individual or of an organization, comes influence and power. And with power and money come pride, greed, and corruption. It is just the nature of living in a fallen world, and Christians (pastors and congregations alike) are by no means immune. (That’s why we are warned in Scripture over and over about the deceit of riches, the love of money, and the need to be focused on service instead of positions of power.)

I’m sure that some who read this will dismiss what I’m saying, and claim that the problem isn’t with the size of the church, just with the character of its leaders and/or its members. But my point is not that big churches are inherently bad, but that truly godly men and women of character are fewer and fewer these days, and even those who start out good can too easily be corrupted – slowly, over time – so gradually sometimes that they can’t see what has happened.

Still not convinced? Check out how many times members or former members of Bellevue Baptist Church, FBC Jax, or FBC Dallas have written of their churches on blogs as being the “flagship church of the SBC” (which one is/was really the “flagship” anyway? – a fleet can only have one). It would be hard to think of another term that displayed a greater sense of inappropriate pride, even arrogance. If the members of a church think of their church as somehow better than other churches, it's no surprise that the pastors would think far too highly of themselves. And that sense of pride (“Look at me, look at what I am, what I have accomplished”) is what’s really at the root of the worldly focus in today's churches.

When will the churches be healed and restored, and receive godly leaders? When the members repent of their own arrogance, greed, apathy, self-reliance, and devotion to the things and values of this world more than to God. Not before. May God have mercy on us all.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Church For Sale

Here is an interesting article, called "Has the Church Sold Its Soul?"

(Ignore the fact that the author shares the name of an infamous former minister from Memphis -- it's not the same guy!)

Especially interesting is the part about how many churches have adopted a Carver Policy Governance model. I didn't know there was a name for it, but I Googled that term, and sure 'nuff, it is the very thing that I have been saying for the past 3 or 4 years is a major problem with how so many churches today view the elders/pastors as decision makers, business leaders and rulers rather than as spiritual shepherds and servants.

Also interesting is the correlation between personality type and church size, and how churches are using personality tests to identify and hire ministers with the profile of a successful corporate executive.

To all of which I say, "Maranatha!"