Servants, Not Messiahs

I was chatting with a friend the other day about church planting. He mentioned to me that he recently had seen a study that the most successful church planters (in regards to numbers of course) had a common thread as far as their personalities were concerned – they were all narcissistic. They knew they were good at what they did; self-confidence was not lacking. In running a good business, narcissism is able to get you a long ways. But shouldn’t it be different for church leaders? The church doesn’t need more Messiahs. It does however, need more servants. We have so many pastors trying to save the church today that they forget all about serving the church. They believe the Burger King church myth that if they can have it their way, everything will be fine and dandy. Everything that is, except the church. When we begin commodifying the church, when we begin to let our vision shape the church rather than God’s vision, when we become central to the church’s ongoing existence, when people begin to come to church to hear our inspiring and challenging sermons rather than listening for the Word of God, we have become saviors. And I really don’t think that is a role we want to fill (unless you would be willing to die on the cross and be sinless and the Son of God, etc.).

The apostle Paul often describes himself as a servant of the gospel. He is not the savior of the gospel, making it relevant and coherent to whomever he encounters. Rather, he serves it, by always trying to remain faithful to the good news of Jesus Christ. That salvation is here. The new exodus is leading humanity away from the bondage of sin that so easily entangle and hinder us. A new world is emerging. A world marked by the prejudice of love. Pastors and church leaders must allow the gospel to ferment within us, allowing it to change us. We need servants of the church today, willing to remain faithful to the historic church, the creeds, the church fathers, the bible, and most importantly, the Word of God, Jesus Christ.

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