Advice for those hurt by ambitious and proud church leaders – by Randy Tan
I met Joe (not his real name) last week. He was not his usual self, full of love and joy. He was a church leader who was always caring and spent most of his time witnessing to others. Ten years ago, while on a business trip overseas, he found the Lord Jesus as his Saviour. He came back home a new man and began to join a local church. The church he joined had about 500 members and very quickly he became a leader because of his zeal to win souls and his giving to the church. He participated in most of the church programs – prayer service, overseas mission, house group leader, etc.
Last week, Joe was a different man. His zeal for Jesus was gone. Something had gone drastically wrong. With teary eyes, Joe poured out his heart to me. Basically these are the things that have happened in Joe’s church:
1) The church has grown to a few thousand members. The leadership of the church no longer walk in love and have no time for their members. Week after week, the leader of the church would boast about their achievements for God. As a result of this, the Word of God is seldom preached on the pulpit. Instead, the people are hearing the leader’s plan, like building expensive buildings, church programs and the sale of books and tapes authored by the leader.
2) The church measures its success by its offering and tithes collection and the growth program through its cell system. Everything is done like a commercial organization and acheivements of finance and church members are of paramount importance.
3) The leader of the church has unsurpassed authority. No one can question him on his conduct. If you try to question him, you will be cut to pieces. On the pulpit, he would even tell the members to leave if you they are not happy with his leadership.
4) The leader of the church would often criticize other churches and ministries from the pulpit. He would even display his temper when he talked about other ministries which he did not like. Sometimes his sermon was delivered with a critical spirit and often members who heard this type of message would catch the same spirit.
5) There is a spirit of competition in the church. Those staff whose cell groups grow above target would get extra bonus and salary. Character building is not an important thing in the church. The leader of the church often compares his church with others and would come up with programs to outdo the other churches.
6) The leader of the church lives in isolation. He would not join or participate in other programs to bring local leaders together to pray and to share. He felt his church is the best and he did not want to waste his time mixing with other local ministries.
If you are reading this message and are hurting inside like Joe, I hope the following guidelines will help you:
1) We must never look at a man when we walk in this spiritual journey. Jeremiah 17:9-10 describes the man’s heart – “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” Every one born into this world has a deceitful heart. Man can fail us anytime, including great men of God. We should place our trust on Jesus only.
2) Our life should be led by the Holy Spirit. This can be done by drawing closer to Jesus. When we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. When we read the Bible and do our prayers daily, gradually we will know the voice of the Holy Spirit. Remember the Holy Spirit is also our Comforter, and we can be comforted when we come to Him.
3) Build the kingdom of God in your heart. According to Luke 17:21, the kingdom of God is within you. It is not in the ministry and it is not in the building. It is in your heart. When our hearts hunger and thirst for Him, He will fill us.
4) When you serve God in any way, it should not put stress in your life. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29-30, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” So when we serve God, it should be easy and light.
5) Learn to rest before the Lord. Psalm 62:1-2 says, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” There is something supernatural when we learn how to rest upon the Lord. We will rise up with the strength that we can never be shaken no matter what happens. During ministering time, I often learn how to be relax before God and this is when all the great miracles happened.
6) The church you are attending is not the only church in the city. Learn to move on with your spiritual life. Find a church where you can find peace, love and joy. Remember for every fallen disciple, there are eleven more who are doing the works of God.
Perhaps, you still have a few questions in your mind that you are still confused, like “God, why don’t you do something in your church” or “Why is your anointing still flows through that man.”
God has His timing, but the following verses may be of help to you:
Jeremiah 23:1-4 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in numbeer. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.
Romans 11:29 For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.
When we get to heaven, you will be surprised that it not all the well advertised and well worshipped preachers who receive great rewards in heaven.
Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evil-doers!”
If you have any comments, do forward your e-mail to Pastor Randy Tan – [email protected]