During my spotty teenage years, I was a great fan of a Christian singer called Steve Taylor. In one of his songs, Hero, he lamented the failings and scandals that plague all those we idolise, from whatever walk of life. And sadly, as I mentioned last week, we can be let down and hurt by Christian leaders we trust and admire.
So how can we avoid being bruised and abused by those in Church leadership? The Bible encourages Christians to respect their pastors and hold them in high esteem but how do we protect ourselves from trusting them too much? 4 valuable tips below.
1: Know your Bible. The more we are aware of the truths in the scriptures and the character and commands of God, the more we will be protected from error and sin and from being swept along when our leaders go astray. That’s why we encourage everyone to read the Bible daily and be part of a home group. That’s why you are encouraged to look at your Bible during the sermon to check that what is being taught is what the Bible teaches! If you ever have concerns in that area, speak up!
2: Don’t idolise your minister. I am far from perfect; I hope you know that. So whilst I hope that you can see something of Christ at work in me, you should only follow my example and words in as much as they reflect the truth of God and point to Jesus. As Paul says: “Follow me as I follow Christ.” That should define how we relate to all Christian leaders, teachers and authors, whoever they are, whatever their position.
3. Beware flattery and secrecy. The latest scandal seems to have revolved around tight and secret groups of chosen, special people. Within that web of flattery and secrecy the Word of God was twisted, faults in the leaders concerned were hidden, and no one spoke out. As children of light, such secret groups have no place. We must speak up if we are concerned about the actions and doctrine of leaders.
4. Keep your eyes on Jesus. It’s obvious but Jesus is the only perfect leader there has ever been. He will never abuse us or let us down; and as the Good Shepherd he is tender and compassionate, true and right and good, and he alone deserves our absolute trust and obedience. If we keep our eyes firmly fixed on him, we will not fall.