Though I fall short so often, I have never denied my belief in Jesus Christ or the fact that I am a Christian. Fortunately for me, my wife has been the spiritual leader in our home for much of our marriage.
Recently, at a local church function, I talked to a couple of friends about how so many workers seem to be disillusioned by many of the leaders in churches. By church “workers,” we mean the 10-20 percent of people who attend church on Sundays and actually do 80-90 percent of the work in that church.
I have attended church on a regular basis for about 25 years and have been a member of more than one church. During that time, I have met some wonderful leaders — Marty, John, Tim, Dan, Sherry, Wayne and many more. These Sunday-school teachers, deacons and pastors are the kinds of Christians who would stop to help someone fix a flat tire at midnight, and they wouldn’t even ask why you were out at that time of night. If you slept in on Sunday and missed a service or two, they would call to say they missed you, but not to lay down a guilt trip.
These folks — and many others just like them — make up most of that 10-20 percent who work themselves practically to death to keep the church doors open and still manage to lift others up. They don’t sugar-coat the scriptures or gloss over accountability, but they usually look in the mirror before they go to confront a brother or sister in Christ. In short, most of the time, good church leaders attempt to be like Jesus and they try to act in a Godly manner, though they are imperfect. One of these leaders, who I know personally, is my wife, Gina.
Unfortunately, there also are usually a few bad leaders in churches, and they exist at the top of the church and run through the ranks. Most of the time, these leaders’ biggest faults are pride and their insistence on having things their way. Most times, they justify their personal desires by saying, “It is God’s will,” or “I’m being led to do this or that,” but the reality is, most of the time they just are doing what they want to do.
Many “leaders” put on a nice show for the Sunday-morning crowd, but the rest of the week, they put down other church members. When they do give a compliment, it usually goes to a friend who, in most cases, agrees with them on church business. Often times, these leaders talk about church discipline and accountability when they really need to be focusing on their own repentance. These leaders may hold private meetings with those who don’t agree with them and do all they can to remove these “troublemakers” from “their” church so that more agreeable people can be moved into place.
Years ago, I heard one “leader” say he “prayed a Sunday-school teacher out his church.” Another time, I heard a different “leader” say he didn’t care how many families left the church — if they didn’t like the direction it was going in, then they could find another church.
It’s hard to believe that people who claim to be Christians say things like this. It’s no wonder some people would rather stay at home on Sunday than visit many local churches. I admit — at one time or another, in my past, I probably have been both types of “leaders.” But through God’s grace and as I’ve grown older, I see things more clearly than when I was a young man.
As my two friends and I talked, we agreed that even though we are disillusioned at times, the reality is that Christian fellowship is what all Christians need and what the Bible tells us to seek. We also realized that all leaders need to look in the mirror and be careful of their actions because people see them for what they truly are. Finally, we all need to be more like Jesus and a lot less like Pilate.