I have spent the last four years earning a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from Liberty “Cemetery,” excuse me… I mean, “Seminary.” During this time I was introduced to leadership books, blogs, and the like. I must say that coming from a Pentecostal “the Holy Ghost will lead background,” I have been blessed by many of the strategies and wisdom given by the “leadership” group.
However, during this time of subscribing to the blogs, twitters, facebooks, and reading the books I have found the following five things they do not do:
1. Teach How to Cast out Devils: I just like the sound of that phrase and I love the action as well. I have found that leadership books and blogs leave out what I like to call, “the sheka-boom-ba work of God.” If there ever was a time we needed the Holy Ghost it is now!
2. Inspire Prayer and Dependence on God’s Power and Presence: The leadership movement can do just the opposite, as a matter of fact, I have been the most successful in the ministry with the least amount of prayer because marketing and the like works. We saw over a 100% increase in attendance in just the last 9 months in our church- more than double! However, I believe success is empty without God’s power and presence and this only comes through prayer. No short cuts in the eternal things of God.
3. Encourage Suffering: Everything is seen as “win & loss” and “problem & solution,” too many times leadership books forget suffering can be godly and God ordained- not because it “works towards outward success” but because it “works towards dying to self- inward success.” I still love to hear about Paul’s struggles and say to myself, “It hasn’t got that bad… yet!”
4. Celebrate Failure: One day I would like to write a book (please hold me accountable to this) on leadership called, “How to Die a 1,000 Deaths: Welcome to Your First Week of Ministry.” I love to ask my friends who are starting new churches for the first time, “How many times have you died on the inside since starting?” After they answer 10x, 15x, etc… I say, “Sounds like your doing great!”
I want the world of future ministers to know how many outreaches God lead me to do and they failed to reach my expectations. The times I heard God to make a disciple and they quit. I would like to spend just a whole chapter on how God told me to merge my first church plant and start over again. I so wish leadership books talked about failure more. Not because God makes us fail to hurt us, but how He allows failures to change us!
5. Remind that Success Isn’t What it is Cracked Up to Be: I know we all want to reach a world for Jesus. However, the blogs do not remind us enough on how numbers, buildings, and ministry fame isn’t really “all that.” Success doesn’t make your children more godly, help ease your temptations, remove your insecurities, or even satisfy. As a matter of fact, it is actually lonelier, harder, and more stressful to be more successful. Your friends judge you, your kids cry out for your time, people are more hurt and let down, more people leave you, and every decision effects tons of people for bad or good. Thus, greatness is not where you are, but who you are. Success is not “over there,” but rather how your living “right here.”
Passage to Meditate On:
1 Corinthians 2:3-5, 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
*Disclaimer: I still love leadership books and blogs- I just have to read other books to complete my “spiritual diet!” : )