Tuesday, December 9, 2014

By their fruit...

At the end of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, he says, "Beware of false prophets; by their fruit you will know them." We quote our Teacher. So why don't we apply his words? "So often Christians approach that as if it says, 'by their gifts you shall know them' or 'by their results or charisma you shall know them,'"
In Leadership Journal I find "The Painful Lessons of Mars Hill," by a pastor from the Pacific Northwest. He summarizes those lessons and they have broader implications than merely flaws in Mark Driscoll's management style.
1. A pastor's character shapes the church.
Pastors and leaders need to stop obsessing over methodology and cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Schlaepfer says, "You need to realize the fact that you are going to reproduce your soul in your church, whether you intend to or not. And if you are sarcastic and defensive and arrogant, that's going to be reproduced in your people. Your soul, the fruit of the Spirit that's in your life, your strength and weaknesses as a leader, are going to be reproduced in that church."
2. "Submitted" does not mean "quiet."
"I am wrestling now with what loyalty means," says Clem, looking back on his days as a Mars Hill pastor. "I feel like I kept quiet as a pastor and elder at Mars Hill in a commitment to 'unity.' I put up with stuff I probably should not have put up with because I thought I was submitting to authority. ....
3. Beware of false "success."
Statements like, "Good leaders have followers" or "Living things grow" become mantras at churches like Mars Hill, says Gaydos. This logic extrapolates quickly to "great leaders have tons of followers" and "the faster things grow, the more alive they are." Soon, small attendance numbers and slow growth become problems to conquer. ....

"If you are finding yourself worrying about 'leaving a legacy' or 'What does the city think about what we're doing' or 'What will you leave behind,' soon it will be all about your movement and not about your relationship with Jesus at all, simply receiving his love and presence." ....
4) Emulate Christ's servant-leadership.
McKnight comments, "Jesus offers what I think is the most significant statement about leadership in the entire Bible that will lead us toward a gospel culture. He uses language that we are all afraid of. He says that you are not to be called Rabbi, you are not to call anyone father, you are not to be called instructors, because you have one teacher—Jesus, and you have one Father—God the Father, and you have one instructor—the Messiah. The greatest will be your servant. .... [more]