Ministry leaders are particularly vulnerable to feeling compelled to present a sparkling “public ministry persona.” It’s not easy to admit that the things we promote (desiring God, pursuing godliness, loving others, etc.) are sometimes the very things with which we struggle. If Papa John ate and enjoyed another brand of pizza would he own up to it? Do we expect financial advisors to disclose previous investment mistakes? Probably not.
In the lean and hard years of ministry I often prayed, “Lord, would you move me somewhere else? Would you put me in a church where I don’t have to do everything, and where I can have more influence? (for your glory, of course!)” The Lord answered those prayers with a “No.” In His wise and gracious providence, he kept me as the solo shepherd of a small congregation.
The Lord is teaching me through being a solo shepherd that I am not the savior of the church. By looking to Jesus Christ as my joy and reward, I can more easily be, as the hymn writer puts it, “Content to fill a little space, if Thou be glorified.”
Dave Wiedis, Copyright 2010, 2017
Have you ever come across as rigid, legalistic, or even weird, when your intent was the exact opposite? Have you ever impetuously said things that are misunderstood by your family and friends, or in a public setting and watched your credibility undermined?
When my children were about ten and twelve I walked in on them as they were watching a seemingly innocuous show on the Disney Channel. Believing that I was a wise, discerning father, my spiritual antenna went up. I scanned the dialogue intently for any hint of immorality, or for some comment that I believed would plant a dark seed into the innocent, undiscerning hearts of my children. Hearing a very subtle comment condoning premarital sex, I made my pronouncement: “This show is insidious. I don’t want you watching such filth.”
Some in the Christian world would admire my ability to discern the secular worldview in the subtle comment. Some would applaud my diligence in guarding the hearts of my children. Today, with years of experience and the benefits of hindsight, I would say I acted foolishly....