Christians driving people away from the church.

Posted: September 29, 2010 in Leadership, Me and God, Me and people

This morning I read a very interesting article from Mark Driscoll’s church entitled “Four Ways to Destroy Your Church”; In simple words, it is about how Christian leaders can do exactly that: destroy the church.

Before I paste the whole article, I wanted to connect it with something that, based on my own experience, is totally related. In the 3rd epistle of John, I believe we can similarly conclude that some Christian leaders can be the worse tool of the enemy in driving people away from the church.

In verses 9-11, John tells the recipient of his letter, about a character named Diotrephes. John seems to present 3 characteristics of Diotrephes:

(1)    Diotrephes is a selfish, prideful, self-centered man who loves to be ‘The important man’ in their congregation; his mission and end goal is his own glory.

(2)    Diotrephes Does not ‘receive’ John and his team; arguably –based on the greek word used (epidechomai), not only he is not hospitable with John, but he does not seem to acknowledge John’s position in the global church and does not acknowledge what God is doing through him and his team. This is further explain as John tells us that Diotrephes is “prating against us with malicious words”

(3)    Diotrephes, not happy with not receiving the other Christians, he “forbids those who wish to”, “driving them away from the church

Johnn concludes encouraging the church to “do not imitate what is evil, but what is good”

Four Ways to Destroy Your Church

Here are four foolish strategies for undermining the work of the local church:
1) Use the church to build your own platform.
People out to use the church care a lot about job titles and push for ones that sound important. When resources are tight they fight really hard for their programs and their projects at the expense of other priorities. Whether they’ll admit it or not, their personal agenda outweighs God’s agenda and mission for the local church.
What repentance looks like: Love the church, don’t use the church.

2) Never say “I’m sorry.”
Two simple words can reveal a humble, repentant heart that admits wrongdoing—even if the wrongdoing was not malicious and simply the result of misunderstanding or lack of information. Those that aren’t able to say “I’m sorry” try to explain everything instead. They cite policy, precedent, or serve up pithy, spiritual answers to justify questionable behavior. A godly leader understands how to walk in the light: confession of sin leads to freedom. Excuses do not.
What repentance looks like: Humbly and sincerely apologize when you blow it.

3) Defend your innocence—even when a whole crowd points out your sin.
Leaders should not tolerate bullies or false accusations, but neither should they resist the credible, unanimous counsel of those genuinely trying to help root out sin. Ultimately, our reputation and our identity must be found in Jesus and not in our perfectionism. We’re a false god.
What repentance looks like: Worship Jesus—not your reputation.

4) Be a black hole. Never communicate.
Information goes in, but nothing ever comes out. Ambiguous, inconsistent, or non-existent communication can be a self-preservation tactic; being non-committal allows a leader to keep his options open and avoid accountability. Politicians use this trick all the time: using lack of clarity to save face or play the hero depending on how events play out.
What repentance looks like: Take responsibility—don’t hide behind politics.

Some of your leaders are killing your church. What’s worse, some of you are killing your church and you may not even realize it. None of us are immune from sin, and all of us need to rely on the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and our church community to persevere in serving Jesus rather than serving ourselves.

Pastor Jamie is Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Church. Hear him teach on church leadership at the Sticky Teams conference in San Diego, October 25–26. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eric Troftgruben, luisvalenzuela. luisvalenzuela said: Christians driving people away from the church.: […]

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