It’s time to take note of the way things are with us before we have any hope or chance of influencing them. We can’t believe that the world around us is going to be impressed with the Christ within us if we continue to misrepresent Him among us. A significant pastor of a very large church was removed from his position last week among admissions of struggles with alcohol and in his marriage. The world and the pharisees scoff and revel in the fall of a judged man.
It’s not increased perfection in pastors that we need to ensure for the world to be receptive, however. It’s the proper placement of pastors and leaders in the context of a body that is necessary to put Christ on display as the Head. When we continue to elevate men to the place of the Head where Christ is intended to be the Head, we continue to set them up for failure.
In too many instances, the church has become a cruise ship. There are cruise directors pointing guests towards various excursions, programs and shows. The captain addresses the ship with information necessary for them to feel at ease and know how to be good passengers. The information, entertainment and excursions are increasingly tweaked to be attractive for the purpose of filling the ship.
This past week, I was struggling with how to land a difficult message in the wake of the assassinations that occurred a few days prior. I met with our Elders and enjoyed the counsel and prayer of the diverse gifts in each of them. Among them, there is a former police officer, an African-American who experienced the brutal edge of integration in his small town and a man who was raised in a family with multi-ethnic foster and adopted brothers and sisters. In addition, we have an 85-year-old elder who was literally on the cutting edge of the civil rights movement in 1960’s Alabama.
The security, affirmation, insight and camaraderie I enjoyed with those men as well as their inclusion in how we conducted our service was a multiplier. It wasn’t me, it was us. I wasn’t the head and I wasn’t the captain, I just played a role within a community that makes up part of the Body. With that same group of men, we share struggles, offenses, concerns and ideas. It’s leadership where no single man carries the burden of a mantle intended for Jesus but too heavy for humans. The result is a light and easy burden . . . just like Jesus said.
The misrepresentation of Jesus isn’t in alcohol or moral struggles. The misrepresentation of Jesus is in the presentation of someone other than Him as the Head of His Body. Let’s quit hanging gifted men out to dry and waiting for the pressure of a mantle they were never intended to wear to crush them. It’s crushing us.