Pastors, remember: how your church is doing, good or bad, is not a reflection on how your faith is doing.
Seems like every week another pastor of a large church takes a fall. At this point, heading a large church is a guaranteed fall. Perhaps it’s time we strongly consider whether large churches are healthy for anyone to lead.
Success goes to our head. We start thinking we actually had something to do with it. We constantly talk about how “God is blessing us” in our ministries, which then makes us feel like God really likes us, way more than all those pastors of pathetic churches. Next thing you know, you think you can get away with murder.
At the same time, plenty of small church pastors take falls too, it just doesn’t make the news as much. Pastoring a small church comes with its own challenges and its own threats to our pride.
Let’s face it: people are the least qualified people to lead people.
Perhaps that’s why we’re constantly told that Christ is the head of the church. I don’t know, could be.
The fact that your church is doing well means nothing in relation to how well the pastor’s faith is doing. We should admit that at this point. A church “doing well” usually just means lots of people are there and lots of things are happening. Here’s the thing: lots of people are doing lots of things at Wal-Mart too.
I live in a small town that has one bowling alley. It was pretty much a dump and if you went there you’d be one of a dozen people (maybe) that were bowling. Half the lanes didn’t work, the scoring computer occasionally worked, and the lighting and atmosphere were deathly. It was bad.
Someone else recently bought the place and every time I’ve been there it’s been busy. The lanes work, the scoring system works, everything has been updated and there is now life there.
Is this God blessing them? I suppose it could be, but it might also just be stuff that you gotta do to attract crowds and get things to happen. If a church uses similar church related devices, in what way is this God’s blessing? Isn’t that relying on human wisdom?
The fact that your church is “doing well” needs to be examined. Why did it start doing well? Did the Holy Spirit have anything to do with it, or was it just better marketing and presentation of the product? If it was the Holy Spirit, then stay humble because it had very little to do with you. If it was human marketing, I guess you can take pride that you are a good marketer, but back off on the “I’m God’s man whom He is blessing more than others.”
It seems like David and Solomon should be brought up here. Success will destroy you just as much as failure will.
Pride is a massive problem for us; it might even be the root of all of our problems. And lest you think I’m saying pastors of small churches are better, I’m not. The size of your church proves nothing about your personal faith. It just doesn’t. It’s no guarantee of anything.
Read the prophets! Jonah, the mopey jerk, was the most successful prophet of all time. Ezekiel and Jeremiah were great at their job and hardly anyone listened. Daniel was humble and did great things. And never forget: Jesus, the perfect Son of God, was rejected and crucified! There is no consistency between external results and level of faithful integrity. There just isn’t.
Pastors: do your job the way the Bible says to do it and let God deal with the results. Don’t count the people (remember David). Don’t be impressed with your buildings (remember the disciples telling Jesus to marvel at the temple buildings). Don’t celebrate the busy goings-on in your church (remember the disciples reporting to Jesus about all the great things they did and Jesus saying “Don’t rejoice in that, rejoice that your name is written in heaven.”).
These passages exist because success is not measured by earthly measurements. So stop it! Stay humble. Rely on the Lord. Do the right thing. God will take care of the rest.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
–2 Corinthians 4:18