As a Christian in ministry for over 30 years I have become an astute observer of human nature and behavior. The older and more mature I become, the more I understand the scripture in John 2:23-25:
In my reading of the word of God over the past 36 years I have noticed a keen difference between the biblical measure of success and the way many American churches seem to measure success.
Many of the ways American churches measures success are in fact direct violations of the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 23. In this passage Jesus speaks against people loving titles, celebrity status, and desiring prominent places in public events. The following are my opinions regarding five myths for success that have crept into the church from American culture.
In our culture we have a proclivity to elevate “doing over being”; to focus more on causes than on Christ. This means that the greatest threat we have as Christians (as defined by Paul in Galatians and Romans when we try to have salvation by works) to our growth in Christ by process is that we live in a future oriented culture that relates time largely to efficiency and productivity. We are more inclined than ever to use time to accomplish results than to enhance relationships.
Many people have a hard time receiving from God because in the world we are programmed to receive based on what we earn. If you work, then you receive payment based on the expertise and amount of hours you put in. It is unusual for someone to come up to you and give you something valuable you didn’t work for or earn. Even on Christmas we expect to receive gifts because we give gifts in return; thus it is not really a present but a blind exchange. Contrariwise, receiving from God is made easy and possible because Jesus bore all of our sins and all curses in His body on the cross.
There has been much confusion regarding the difference between apostolic and prophetic function.
Regarding these two functions, when we examine the Scriptures we find only a slight difference regarding ability in executive leadership roles, the main difference being the actual ministerial expression of leadership ability.
There have been great leadership books on living a significant life and finishing well (Halftime by Bob Buford comes to mind). In this article, I want to focus especially on how senior pastors and apostolic leaders can finish well.
Many men I come across are depressed and have an inordinate desire to be fulfilled in sports by vicariously living their lives through other men they set up as heroes. This is because in sports there are clear winners and losers, thus satisfying a man’s desire to conquer through mastering a skill. Also, because they feel purposeless, they need to live their lives through other men or through a team they can identify with, attempting to fill the void in their hearts.
The church has seen the rise of “celebrity cult status” pastors who act like spiritual superstars.
In this article I define rock stars as those who act as little gods who believe they are above everyone else. They walk around with an entourage, body guards, and are inaccessible to family, friends, high-level staff and peers, and are unaccountable islands to themselves.
Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” The word righteousness in this passage is not referring to an individual’s right standing with God but to a nation that adheres to God’s righteous standards as found in His moral law. Notice it is not democrats or republicans who exalt a nation but righteousness.
Satan is the author of rebellion, which is the root of all sin. He rebelled against God’s rule and continues to rebel against God’s rule through willing people who rebel against spiritual authority. This is the major way churches are divided and even destroyed.
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