One day my friend Phil Graf came over to spend some time sharing about ministry and life. He challenged me with this question – “When will we stop trading leaders for lessons?”
Wow! That question has haunted me ever since. I have learned so many lessons as a church planter and pastor. But unfortunately, many of those lessons have come at the expense of people – valuable leaders in our church.
Learning the importance of clearly defined doctrinal positions resulted in the loss of several leaders. Once I was asked, “Are you open to the moving of the Holy Spirit in this church?” I thought to myself, “How could anyone answer that question ‘no’?” So I responded that we were open to the leading of the Spirit. However, this created what I have since referred to as “charismatic chaos.” By not clearly defining our position on supernatural manifestations of the Spirit, we created confusion and several leaders left the church. At least I learned to speak clearly on this issue in the future.
However, our position on the security of the believer also resulted in leaders who left the church. Our involvement with a building campaign also resulted in lessons learned and leaders “lost.” I wish that was it – but I can think of several more examples.
I got tired of trading leaders for lessons!
My prayer for you as a pastor or church planter is that God will protect you from trading leaders for lessons. Maybe you should make that your prayer, too.