Today was the first day where I could feel accusatory and condemning thoughts in my head. They weren’t audible, but they were definitely there. Third-party statements, criticizing not just things I did but who I am. Not a great way to start the day.
Also, the older I get, the more I’m afraid that this will be me one day.
There’s a lot of things that are easier in smaller groups. Dealing with a group of about 10 leaders means less communication is needed, more knowledge is just felt than explicitly talked about and known. Making a decision with a group of 70ish leaders, I am several degrees removed from many of them, can’t intuit how much impact the decisions will have, and have several fires that prevent me from addressing the several other fires.
I said to someone this past week that I’m not sure I have the capability to lead a group this size. It’s nice that I have some grounding as to why I feel this way. Not that it’s getting me anywhere closer to resolving the feeling. But still.
“God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together. When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself.”
Everyone assumes that the church hierarchy is a pyramid, and the aim is to get as high on the pyramid as you can*. The higher-ups get to make decisions, impact the church on a larger scale, and have a status and position that some envy.
* Not necessarily true for campus, who seems to all want to get on TC and stay there, but we’ll put this aside for a moment.
But really it’s the reverse. It’s the people on “top” that are expected to hold up everyone “under” them. There’s more weight, more pressure, more responsibility. And not having a middle later isn’t the top coming down, it’s whether the people in the layer under are willing to hold up the rest of the pyramid or, more often, what they’re willing to let fall.
I don’t know why I am the way I am, but it’s exhausting trying to juggle and keep everything up.
Pastors need to redefine success. The popular model of success involves the ABCs—attendance, buildings, and cash. Instead of counting Christians, we need to weigh them. We weigh them by focusing on the most important kind of growth—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, kindness, and so on—fruit in keeping with the gospel and the kingdom.