The familiar proverb “pride comes before the fall” is sadly realized in our world time and time again. Within our culture, there is a gross exaggeration of human accomplishments, accompanied by a continual need for recognition of such feats. Repetitive praise about a job well-done help to elevate the human ego and this does not always result in a balanced life of humility.
This behavior is seen in the business world, the sports arena, the entertainment world … and unfortunately, it has even infiltrated into the church leadership community. Many leaders who have risen to lead large churches have fallen into the “God complex:” an arrogance of who they are and who they have become, allowing them to see themselves as infallible and their self-worth as above those they lead. God gave them the role [of leading] the church, and adoration from their followers becomes an addiction. It can be challenging for those kinds of leaders, and for ourselves, to take the advice or wise counsel from those that can keep us accountable and on the road of humility.
When a leader operates from humility, the Lord gives authority to lead and from that authority comes power. Part of strong leadership is submitting our weakness; nothing is achievable without the Lord and our confidence comes from the covenant we have [with] Him. When leaders start to elevate their own self-worth by thinking that church growth or increased offerings are the [results] of personal accomplishments, brokenness could soon follow.
Humility shows up and grows up in serving. It is rooted in our identity with Christ, not our position within the church. Put simply, humility is about seeing yourself the way God sees you as a leader and serving others the way God sees them and serves them. We are nothing without Christ; and unless a leader recognizes Christ’s lordship in their life, it can be easy for him or her to start believing that their leadership position is a result of their own abilities.
Runaway pride has destroyed many a leader, a church, and a family and the road back is painful, hard, and does not always end with a positive outcome. If a mistake happens, the leader with a prideful attitude may blame everyone but themselves for their conduct. The saddest part of a fallen leader is not only the personal effect but also the impact on their team and the church. Damage may be forgiven, but for some, it is difficult to forget.
The greatest example of humility was the life our Lord lived on earth. He never used a title, or position, or possessions to have power over the people. We have no earthly entitlement to the position of leadership. It is a gift, to use wisely from a heart of humility.
Matthew 11.29: “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.”
This week’s article is written by Charles Stone (www.charlesstone.com), author of the book, People Pleasing Pastors. Submitted by Russ Olmon, President of Ministry Advantage, and Deb Mertin, certified Ministry Advantage coach. For more on this and other helpful subjects, go to www.ministryadvantage.org.