March 17, 2013
By Kenneth Stepp
I tried to come up with a way to write this in the third person. But I just couldn’t find a way to do it without watering down the message. I believe the message is too important. So, here is my weak side. It was temporary, and fleeting, but it was very real. I do not like to show it at all. I consider myself very much a man’s man. Big, powerful, and unafraid. But I went through a period of time where all that was gone.
This may be the hardest article I have ever written. Why? Because I spent decades buying into the concept of leadership building in the modern day church. My journey about this subject began in 2007, during a personal crisis that just about killed me. I won’t go into the mechanics of it, but when I changed from one type of person to another, I discovered what being alone was like. It was my first time there. It was devastating. I honestly did not care if I survived it. And never felt so alone. But that was the fuel for a fire later.
In mid 2012 i met with an old friend that was a part of that fuel I just spoke of. I said, what happened to you guys, where did you go? Well, we just decided to leave you alone, he said. It’s March of 2013 and I’ve been processing that statement since then. It has been what ignited a flame in me. This was church leadership, all three were my friends. We had been close for years. At the lowest point, when it was uncomfortable, they all agreed on an excuse to abandon a brother because it was hard to stick around. In the new leadership driven church this is the norm. Having been on “the inside”,I’ve heard all the excuses, and actually believed them as truth. Looking at the teachings of Christ without the weekly filtering from the pulpit now allows me to look at these practices the way they really are. Tragic, and full of reasons to dodge the real work of the church. Loving….
The training as far as I can tell is the “Leadership revolution”. Before writing this I went to over ten church and pastor blogs to see what they really care about. Of the hundreds I saw, not one mentioned love. With the exception of a very few, they all talked about leadership. I mean all of them. You see leaders are influence’s business owner, successful people. If your church full of leaders and influencer’s, you get numbers, wealth, and prestige. Recognition beyond your area. It isn’t a bad plan for a business. But when leadership building and all that comes with it become that much more important than just loving the lost, without judging anyone at all, then there is a problem. They have absolutely lost their first love. No longer on the mission. This might be the reason churches ministered in their area during the time the church was being established. No mega churches or leadership driven churches Just leaders that loved unconditionally without looking at the talents and treasures of those in their congregation.
I have a lot of pastors and Christian workers on my Facebook account. I watch the blogs go by every day, all day, and without fail, 99 out of 100 are about leadership. It would seem a balanced way would serve God better.
Here’s a perfect example of leadership vs love in a church. Two weeks ago a local pastor cast judgment from the pulpit on a few people he did not know at all. He said before he did it that he shouldn’t do it, but on he went. To get the congregation to laugh at his joke. The back story was that one of these people was a cynical unchurched man that had never met a Christian that even tried to act like Christ. For 6 months I had been teaching and showing him the opposite. After the pastor’s judgment welding comedy act he was done. Any good I had accomplished was void. This is what I see out of the “leadership Revolution” watering down the message and the mission of Christ. What happened next surprised me, and that takes a lot. A leader in a local church posted that I was judging the pastor and unfriended me. Wow? this was someone that people look up to in one of these churches. No mention of what this pastor did to this guy that was lost as an Easter egg. Just angry that I called him out. What i did wasn’t from the pulpit, and I am not leading a congregation. A large one in his case.
I have heard all the reasons. Reach more people, getting the message out, more effective everything, and my favorite “with excellence”. Having been the recipient of these excuses and watched others completely turned of on all things God because of this, i disagree. It’s a perfect plan. More of all things good and worldly, less impoverished and hard to reach people. The very people that sit and hear this dogma are the same people that will defend it to the death. Call it what you will. I call it programming.
He said we should never judge. Yet you hear so much judgment, He said to be about His business, meaning to love others unconditionally. The leadership driven churches have turned their backs on these simple commands Hey, it’s my article, so I can put my opinion in it.
As I said before, this was hard to write but necessary in my opinion. So let the enlightened throw the excuses, judgment, and the unfriending begin. Just goes a long way towards proving my point.
And no, I haven’t left God. I just decided to take a hard look at what He is and wants us to be doing. And it isn’t always what is being done in His name.