Psalm for the Day

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pastors: Servant Leaders or Dictators????

Pastors are usually chasing the latest fad, while churches are shrinking, and people are suffering spiritually as a result of power.

The pursuit of power, control and manipulation always contradicts God's desire for HIS people.  The attempts to gain favor and control over God's church will always end with the devastation of lives.

Jesus gave His warning to the church in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3.  These warnings apply to us, the 21st Century Church.

Many churches today are shrinking and dying due to the lack of a servant leader.

In a lukewarm church, many of its people seek a position of favor with the pastor, rather than a true desire to please God.  They become man pleasers, wanting approval and positions of recognition.

John 5:41-44 (The Message)
      "I'm not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God's love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?"  vs 41-44

When we seek the honor of man, we do so at the expense of our relationship with God; man will soon take the place of God in our lives.

An unhealthy soul tie creates a bond to a controlling leader/pastor.  This kind of control will destroy people spiritually.  In a controlling church, it is considered rebellion when someone questions the decisions or statements made by the pastor.  Anyone who dares to question them is usually confronted with rudeness or a request to leave or their character is attacked.

Individual ministries are no longer opportunities to serve, but rather necessary to prove one's commitment to the pastor, whether it's faithful attendance or over-extending one's self to prove one's loyalty then becomes the key to approval.

Church attendance is vital to our spiritual growth, as well as fulfilling God's Word.  However, we miss the point of going to church when we find ourselves attending in order to win favor or to learn approval of the pastor.

Paul, one of the greatest apostles and writers of the New Testament, never once claimed control over the personal lives of his followers.  He could have easily elevated himself to a self-important and controlling position over the church, as many pastors do today, yet, he knew that he was to be a servant leader, not a dictator.

2 Corinthians 1:24 (The Message)

  "We're  not in charge of how you live out the faith, looking over your shoulders, suspiciously critical. We're partners, working alongside you, joyfully expectant. I know that you stand by your own faith, not by ours." vs 24

Paul could have claimed dominion over another person's faith, but rather, considered himself a "servant leader", charged with helping people mature into their faith.  Paul led by example, not by emotions, fear, intimidation or control and manipulation.  Paul addressed those self-important pastors who bring the church into bondage by exalting themselves over others.  In other words, he tried to warn the church at Corinth that they were foolish to allow themselves to become enslaved to a controlling pastor.
 
2 Corinthians 11:16-21 (The Message)
 
  "Let me come back to where I started—and don't hold it against me if I continue to sound a little foolish. Or if you'd rather, just accept that I am a fool and let me rant on a little. I didn't learn this kind of talk from Christ. Oh, no, it's a bad habit I picked up from the three-ring preachers that are so popular these days. Since you sit there in the judgment seat observing all these shenanigans, you can afford to humor an occasional fool who happens along. You have such admirable tolerance for impostors who rob your freedom, rip you off, steal you blind, put you down—even slap your face! I shouldn't admit it to you, but our stomachs aren't strong enough to tolerate that kind of stuff." vs 16-21 

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