Let’s listen in on a church nominating committee meeting…
‘We need someone to teach the middle schoolers; Alice said she’s been doing it for 2 years and needs a break.’
‘Anybody have any suggestions?’
‘What about that guy who helped us build the stage for the Christmas play?’
‘Yeah, he IS in church every week, as far as I can tell.’
‘And he DID say the blessing before lunch that day.’
‘Who wants to call him?’
If you’ve ever been a part of church life, or had the distinct pleasure of serving on a nominating committee, this scenario is probably way too familiar.
As we seek leadership in the church, our default list of qualifications consists of two items:
1). Can they be here every week, and
2). Can they pray publicly (because SOMEone has to close the class/meeting/study in prayer!).
The discussion rarely turns to spiritual qualifications, maturity in the faith, or history of discipleship.
Wait, did someone say ‘discipleship?’
Church leaders bemoan the lack of leadership in the church, yet we fail to intentionally disciple our people.
Hello, hello, hello, is there anybody out there…?
I love the folks I serve with. I try to encourage them as best I can. But that doesn’t mean they all need to be teaching a class in the church. Not now, anyway.
But what opportunities are available to those who really want to grow in their faith? What systems are in place to move our folks from where they are to where they need to be? How exactly do they get from Point A to Point F, for example?
This is a huge failure on the part of the Church, of which I am a part. Guilty as charged.
We build people up and praise them for the little things they do. We tell our potential teacher, ‘You were so awesome helping us build that stage, and your blessing before lunch was so special to me. Have you ever considered teaching middle schoolers?’
That sounds ludicrous.
But we do it every year when the time comes…
Consider the following from Don Carson (from his ‘For The Love of God’ devotional):
“…praise itself is in some respects the ultimate test of character. You can tell as much about people (and maybe more) by how they respond to praise as you can by how they respond to adversity. Ask football heroes, movie stars, and people in church too rapidly promoted. Perhaps this is the ultimate crucible. It does not destroy us; it exposes what is there, and very often it is not much.”
Shame on us for putting people in leadership positions who are clearly not ready for the task. The fact that they are faithful in attendance and willing to pray are not sufficient. If you haven’t discovered this yet, hang on. You will.
We can do so much better, and we must. The life of the Church depends on it.
p.s. This post was for me. If it spoke to you, woo-hoo! Bonus points.
*First Posted April 9, 2014*