6 Unhealthy Trends in Church Leadership | In Other Words

pewbibleEach week men and women all over the world give their time, talents, and treasures to the work of God’s kingdom. They sweat, bleed, cry, and give all so that God’s mission is fulfilled on the earth. “On earth, as it is in Heaven…” would be a more exact representation of the mission’s call. We, who have committed ourselves to this commission, often face significant road blocks, and conflict regularly arises. We tell ourself two lies, depending on the situation…either God wants us to bust down proverbial doors that are locked shut, or He wants us to walk away from opportunities that seem insurmountable. We try our best to follow God’s will, but sometimes the tempation of our own comfort steers us in a different direction. Whatever the case may be, if we were honest with ourselves, those of us involved in church leadership can admit that often unhealthy trends emerge from our efforts. Currently, there are many unhealthy trends that I have observed, but let’s just talk about a few of them today.

I think there are 6 Unhealthy Trends in Church Leadership that must be discussed.

1. Inconsistent Priorities

As pastors and church leaders, we have to be in the habit of constantly evaluating our priorities. Do we really want God’s will to be done, or are we more interested in what is marketable? Sometimes these things go hand in hand, but sometimes they don’t. If we say we are about God’s business then we have to be willing to take the risks that prove God is in control. We all want to see God’s glory powerfully invade our churches, but how many are willing to make decisions that would require Him to create possibility out of the impossible? Seeking God’s priorities will get us farther than we could ever imagine. Sometimes the actions taken with be frightening, but if God is in control then we will see blessing.

2. Addiction to More

In today’s Christian culture, what happens when our churches grow in number? Well, we build bigger buildings of course! This is because the unhealthy addiction to more equates to that of human or financial hoarding. We want bigger so we can have more, so we can influence the masses, and persuade even more people, so we can continue to get bigger. The cycle seems pointless overall. Sure, we justify it by saying we are trying to convey the life-giving message to more people, or that God is simply blessing because of the right leadership, but we have to ask ourselves the hard questions. Questions like…If God called us to do something bold like plant a new church, or restart a dying one would we be open to that idea? Do we care more about what our work looks like than what God can do through us? I am not against bigger churches…but let’s not default to a mentality that God is not calling us to.

3. Competitive Mentalities

Sometimes it is hard to lead a church as a spirit driven leader instead of a team coach, or CEO. Sure there are coaching and business aspects to this vocation, but if God were the center of our ministry then we would realize that our mission includes helping the worship community across town as a brother or sister would look after their sibling. Even though I love my church, I don’t profess to have the secret that gets people to Heaven any faster than the megachurch down the road. We will be more effective united as opposed to seeking to be offended when another church is being blessed. Rejoice with our brothers and sisters…They are God’s children too. You will have to stand before God one day and account for why you didn’t…if that is the case. Give your all to bless other churches. You will see the increase.

4. Destructive Arrogance

No pastor, leader, or person sitting in the pew is above one another. There are some that have studied scripture more and understand the languages it was originally written in, but we have to eradicate arrogance if we are going to grow. Even though I came from a Christian home, my sin is the exact same as yours…my past was riddled with instances in which I decided to seek my own path and do things my own way. This is all sin is…so the next time we are tempted, as church leaders, to be arrogant remember that it is destructive. People need grace, and guidance…not a know-it-all who thinks of themself as higher than another.

5. Constant Worry

God’s got this under control. You don’t have to be in constant worry over whether or not this is true. As a pastor, it is easy to worry (to the point of paranoia) about things like finances, church attendance, efffectiveness, or if so-in-so is mad about if the piano was moved 2 feet to the left. We worry about our building. We worry about the future. We worry about whether or not people want to stay at our church. We worry about other churches taking our people (side note: they are God’s people not ours…). The concerns are endless. Meanwhile, people, outside of our walls are dying and we have a chance to provide them with an antidote. They don’t care about any of that…they just want the hurt to go away. Take that worrying energy and convert it into serving energy.

6. Aversion to Learning

I once asked an older pastor if he was going to a certain seminar. He looked at me and said, “probably not…I have been in ministry a long time, and they probably can’t teach me anything I don’t already know.” WHAAAAATTTTT???!!!!!?? Pastors and other church leaders should have a hunger to learn more not an aversion to growth. We owe it to God to have the desire to grow in Him. Don’t miss the opportunities that present themselves.

When we embrace unhealthy trends in our leadership we are defying the mission of Christ himself. I pray that we are no longer held hostage by our own limitations but embrace the fact that God can do all. Allow Him to lead you today.

-Landon DeCrastos

5 Things I Learned from Mrs. Davis

Chalkboard360“Landon, did you read chapter 7 like you were told to do for today’s quiz?” Of course I did…who is actually going to say no to that question? There can be nothing more exciting in life than an entire chapter on the wonders of the preposition. In fact, I couldn’t put the book down Mrs. Davis…I didn’t sleep at all and felt like I needed to read the chapter 10 times just to make it really soak in.

Okay, so I didn’t really say that when Mrs. Davis asked me the question. I thought it though. Her question was somewhat annoying because she knew I didn’t read it. I mean, with my active social calender, reading a chapter that explores a part of speech was not on my priority list. She loved this stuff though. You could tell that this got her up in the morning. I, however did not get the same rush out of 6th grade english class. My quiz score that day showed it too. Also, the fact that I was known to turn in the occassional late assignment because “I forgot my notebook at home”. That was my go-to excuse…but she didn’t buy it. She was good…really good.

I loved Mrs. Davis…even though she was a little too excited about adverbs…really excited (english nerds will get that pun). Every day I came to 6th grade english, I was confronted by a woman who put up with me and made it her mission to help me grow in knowledge. She taught me more than just how to diagram a sentence (I shutter).

Today, I want to share 5 things in that I learned from this amazing educator.

1. Your work reflects your integrity– Many times I came to class unprepared. It was no one’s fault but my own. I had made laziness a fine art that was perfectly honed over time. One day, Mrs. Davis sat me down and talked to me about how it was unfair for me to not put in the effort when others tried so hard. I really didn’t listen at the time, but in my adult life this has proven to be true.

2. Shut your mouth– Deep in the recesses of my memory, I can recall a few times where I may have been told to quiet down in class. Okay…I admit it…I was a talker. I still am in fact. There were times that I had wonderful grades on my report card and there would be comments that would indicate that I was an “excessive talker”, and I tended to be a “distraction to others”. I looked at it as sharing my wisdom with my classmates…that and I really wanted them to laugh in the middle of quiet reading time. Overall, I learned, just like it says in the book of Proverbs, those who remain silent are often assumed wise.

3. It’s okay to not know the answer– I would get so upset with myself everytime I would raise my hand and my answer would be wrong. I felt inadequate. I felt humiliated. Looking back on it I realize it was silly to feel this way, but I wanted to be right. I think, sometimes, we discount the importance of being corrected. Our pride often gets in the way and we miss opportunities for learning and growth. It’s okay to admit that there are things you need to learn.

4. Your discomfort should not control your action– There were times when I would have given anything to avoid doing that book report. The book was not exciting and all I wanted to do was go out and play after school instead of putting some time in typing an essay on a book I picked out of the library solely based on how many pages it had…When I took it seriously, though, I found that I expanded my mind more than I thought I would. Push through the urge to reject discomfort. It can lead to growth.

5. Passion is contagious– When the end of the year came, I realized that I had gained a deep love for reading and writing that continues this to this day. Mrs. Davis loved what she did and wanted others to share the same passion. It worked. People loved her class and, as much as I would have hated to admit it then, she made learning fun.

God speaks truth to people in many ways, and through many people with many different occupations. I am grateful that he used this teacher to speak to me at a time when I really needed to hear wisdom. My hope is that many more can learn from the lessons God taught me.

-Landon DeCrastos