A couple thoughts came to mind. In a world where everything humanity knows doubles ever 1.5 years, a creative approach is not an option for the church, it’s a necessity. How else will we take the unchanging message of the Gospel to a rapidly changing world? Our declining numbers in the church prove this to be true.
But here’s the other thing. If a person has been a follower of Jesus Christ long enough to become a “traditional Christian” I think one of the following must be true. They should be qualified to lead. If they don’t feel the call to be leaders (and not everyone does), they should have been under the authority of Christ and the local pastor/body of Christ long enough to be amazing followers able to follow their leaders into new and fertile mission fields or at the very least they should be able to get out of the way.
Now when I write get out of the way, I’m not meaning they should leave the church or that they are irrelevant or unnecessary. I’m simply stating that they should have the spiritual maturity to realize that just because something does not appeal to them, does not mean it will not appeal to someone and that they should stand back, allow the effort to proceed, pray that it bears fruit and not get in the way of what God is trying to do. Of course I’m not talking about righteously opposing something unscriptural, that is a mandate for us all. I’m talking about opposing things because they’re not the way we’ve always done it. If we only do what we’ve always done, we’re doomed or at the very least way off task.
Truth be known, a lot of this has been caused, in my opinion, by the way we view our leaders in the American Church. We’ve started to see them as employees to be hired and fired at will, based on whether or not they take us where we want to go. My next words will sound cold, but it’s not about you and where you want to go and your pastor is not your employee. Your pastor is called by God to take you where God wants you to go. Of course there are checks and balances in place to ensure pastors don’t abuse power, but if you are opposing your leaders because they are taking you where God wants you to go, who are you really opposing? Check yourself.
I used to say the church exists for those outside it, to reach people beyond it’s walls and while I still consider that (as well as worshipping God) to be our primary purpose, I have mellowed just a little. Ephesians 4 calls out five gifts that were given for the purpose of leading the church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Now one might think these are the people who are supposed to do the work of the church, but that is in fact not the case.
The job of church leaders according to Ephesians 4:12,13 is “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Translation, your church leaders’ jobs are to help YOU to do the work of ministry, build up the body (reaching out and discipling), uniting the body behind Jesus, and teaching us to follow Him until we become like Him. Their job is to help you find and do your job to the glory of God.
Once you consider how many different people and different jobs there are that could be being done, you will gain a greater realization for the need for creativity in the church and especially in church leadership. And once you start to do your God-given assignment, you’ll see that you want people to do one of three things…
Lead, Follow or get out of the way.
Which one are your doing and are you getting in anyone’s way?