For whatever reason I am not able to shake this irritation. Like a rock in your shoe you can try to ignore it for some time but eventually you stop to pull everything off to remove what is a constant annoyance. This is how I am currently dealing with all of the calls for bold, strong, Christ-like Christian leadership from Christian leaders.
Wait…why does this irritate you Zack do you ask? Because it is an in-your-face misunderstanding of the type of people God uses as His Leaders (yes take notice I said His). And because it is suggesting that we need something other than Christ and the object of what we are being told that we need is suggested to even be in the realm of possible reality. I will try to establish some key things that should be universal throughout Christendom. But if all I had to go from was the current trend of “we need Christian leaders to be xyz” coming from all sorts of areas than I am led to believe that what I am about to type below is not universal.
- God doesn’t need any of us to do anything. If that were not true than God would not be God and we would be. The fact that He “uses” anyone is for His glory and because He loves us and wants to shower us with His grace. Raise your hand if you “need” your 3 year old’s help with putting together his “some assembly required” Christmas gift…Ah, but you like letting them help for obvious reasons…
- There are no “strong” people when the strength that we are referring to is righteousness, morality and perfection.
- The only kind of people that are available to be leaders are weak sinners.
- God uses weak sinners as leaders.
- Christ was the only strong human leader.
Has anybody else but me noticed that the individuals who are demanding that we need strong Christian leaders are actually individuals who are currently trying to fake the funk of presenting an outward image for all of us to see as the “model, strong, Christian leader?” Does this not then make it a call to not look at Christ but to look at the “strong Christian leader?”
My Face to the #GospelPosse whenever I hear the call for a Strong Christian Leader:
There is no such thing!
“We need strong football bats!” “Don’t preach grace or you will create Grace Pirates!” Grace Pirates? Yeah that might be a future post about another make believe creature that seems to be spawned from our “logical” human reasoning.
As a matter of fact from now on whenever I hear or read a call for more “strong Christian leaders” the first though that will come into my noggin will be “football bat.” Some of this stuff is too silly, you just gotta laugh.
We “need’ Christ. We don’t “need” people. The type of leader that would be ideal to have are sinners, who make effort to say “do not look at me look at Christ! He is the leader you need, He is the only leader worth following!” Yet so many “strong Christian leaders” walk into a room expecting everyone to curtsy and drop rose petals for them to walk on in order to ascend to their throne/pulpit to bring the word and call down fire for “their” sheep!
They seriously in all their pride think that the show can begin when they arrive
They truly believe that when it comes to church and the church service that THEY are the Showstopper
Honestly, HBK is the first one that I think of when I hear “the Showstopper”
Show me someone who is demanding that our Christian Leaders be strong and I will show you someone who thinks that they are the strong example to follow and expects to be served by you instead of you serving God.
They want you to see them as the conquering strong Christian that you are to aspire to become.
They may never admit it but this is the projection that they are subconsciously wanting you to see so that they will feel more secure in the hope that they have in what they are doing and not in what Christ has already done.
Here is the fake projection they work towards hoping that you are seeing:
Here is the reality of any of us who are trying to lead apart from Christ:
We need Christ! The fact that Christ uses weak sinners as leaders is another act of grace. It proclaims to all of us that no matter how much we have failed at life God will never fail us. There is no one outside of God’s ability to use. As a matter of fact let’s take a quick rundown of the kind of “strong leaders” God uses and their “qualities of strength”
Abraham=doubter and liar
Moses=murderer and glory hog
David=womanizer, adulterer, murderer
Peter=coward and denier of Christ
Saul/Paul=murder and self-righteous church ordained, appointed and identified “strong leader”
Ok I think that’s enough. The point is….any person that God uses for His plan, glory and leadership is a weak, desperate for grace sinner. The call, or worse, demand that they be strong is like demanding a man to grow a beard by shaving. It can’t happen because it an impossible expectation.
Don’t give me a leader who will tell me that they are strong or tell me to be strong. Give me a leader who will tell me that they are weak but He is strong. Give me a leader that will not point to a sin-human leader to follow but will point to Christ. Don’t give me a leader who will lie to me with their mouth or their actions that they have this living the Christian life thing all figured out. Give me a leader who is honest enough to let me know that they are just of a hot mess and in need of God’s grace as I am.
The ideal Christian leader is a leader who has been captured by the grace of God, who knows that it is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone that they are able to stand. The greatest lie and the worst thing that can happen to anyone is to have someone in front of them saying “look at my example and follow it. Look at my work and follow it. Look at my ability to progress and move forward in my spiritual growth process and emulate the works and law that I am able to get better at fulfilling.” That is nothing but a lying sack and tom foolery. Sounds an awful lot like, that voice in Genesis 3.
I saw a tweet from @chief_sinner who said, “If God were pleased with progress, he would have given us a goal. Since he’s only pleased with perfection, he gave us a substitute.”
The worst thing that we as a race of sinners needs is a tooter of their own horn. We need Christ. We don’t need a goal that we can never obtain we need a substitute who fulfilled perfection for us. More than our need for a leader who will point us to Christ, we need Christ and Christ Alone.
Remember how bad Peter messed up? Do you not think that he knew that He messed up? Do you not think that it changed him forever to know that Jesus still loved Him and would want Him? Take note of Acts 10:24-26 where Peter corrects Cornelius from worshiping him…how many “strong Christian leaders” would not bask in your genuflecting of them and not Christ alone?
Look at a mighty miracle that God performed through Peter and John in Acts 3. After the lame man could walk Peter had to address the crowd who had been “astounded” by this miraculous work of healing and said to them, “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety (piety=righteousness, being a “strong” leader/man of God) we have made him walk?” Peter was very much aware of who he was…a sinner who was living a life as a civilian of Heaven…some times that is hard to swallow…that Almighty 3 time Holy God would love me and choose me and then call me a civilian of Heaven…Hah! Me? God chose and wants sinner me in Heaven with Him?
Peter asks the crowd “why are you marveling at me, God did this through Jesus!” and then serves em up some Law: “yeah, the same Jesus who you killed.”
If you are like me you have thought before “how dumb must they have felt, killing Jesus?”…The fact is, you and I killed Jesus just as much as anyone who yelled “crucify him.”
After hitting the crowd with law Peter hits em with grace…not mixed…not law and grace mutated together like a Ninja Turtle but law/grace. Verses 17-26 Peter tells the same crowd who killed Jesus that their only hope is to be saved by Jesus…the number that grace claimed and captured after weak, lobbing ears off, denying Christ Peter gave a testimony of hope in Christ alone? About 5,000. Because of the grace of God through Christ…not through the strong leadership of Peter.
We don’t need strong football bats. We need Christ. The worst thing that we could have is a leader who says “look to one of us sinners as the model of Christian morality, growth and strength.” We need to realize that our only hope is Christ Alone.
There is no such thing as a strong Christian leader.
The only hope that we have is Jesus.