When Jesus walked the earth, he called people to follow him. He didn’t necessarily ask them to do a bunch of things first before they could follow him. He just said, “Follow me.” And then as they followed him, he showed them how to live in a manner pleasing to God. His followers failed him on many levels, but he still loved them, cared for them, offered them second chances…
When I think about churches today though, they tend to put all these rules on people. Don’t do this and don’t do that or do this and do that. If you do these things or don’t do those things, then you can be a part of our “family.”
Excuse me if I’m wrong on this, but isn’t being a family about being able to forgive mistakes, encouraging the members of your family to be more, helping them along they way no matter what they do or how they fail you. Being a part of a church family should be even more forgiving, more encouraging, more helping… Shouldn’t it?
Being part of a church IS about being a family. But the head of that family is not any church leader… It’s Christ. And I’m glad that I’m following him and not following a man.
On a similar note, I read an article recently that talked about churches whose identity is wrapped up in their lead pastor and when something happens in which that pastor leaves or retires, then the church is in trouble. There are so many churches out there now that are wrapped up in the pastor who speaks every Sunday. I even heard one well-known pastor say something to the effect of that why should he waste his best years of preaching by starting a new church plant with a different pastor when he could start a multi-site campus and feed his preaching into the second campus live. How conceited is that? To think that YOU are the reason a church is succeeding?
As Frankie and I look towards starting a church, I hope that we can be leaders who share our responsibility for the local church with others. I think, it’s so important to have other elders/pastors that have equal say in the church. Who are we to think we have it all figured out, right? I would never want someone to follow Frankie or me. We want you to follow Jesus.