Why I’m Scared of Working in a Church
I’m scared of spiders, the Scream movies and going under water. But nothing scares me more than working for a church. But wait you say, aren’t you working in a church? Yep, pretty much. But let me explain my fear.
I grew up as a pastor’s kid and have seen lots of stuff go on in the church. I have attended conferences where pastors of mega churches are worshiped and praised for what they did to lead their churches to greatness. Pastors are known to read the newest books from the business world that spell out how to make a good business great. They study how to lead teams well and how to motivate customers/parishioners. When their church grows by the hundreds and even thousands, they write books, speak at conferences and produce video podcasts. We celebrate their transformational leadership.
But what does this have to do with my fear of working in a church? I am scared of using the latest leadership tactics, the newest motivational skills and a well defined and communicated vision to grow my ministry. I’m scared that I can be successful (numerically) in ministry and God doesn’t even have to be a part of it.
Paul writes, “For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Corinthians 3:4-7). The Corinthian church was worshipping specific leaders and this was causing division in their church. Paul makes the fundamental point that these leaders did their task but it was God who caused the growth. We get it wrong when we praise church leaders for their amazing leadership and forget that it is God who should be worshipped. Without God, spiritual growth cannot happen.
This means that first and foremost, I must be bending my will to the will of God each day. I must realize that my first priority is to follow Christ, not to lead my ministry. When I switch those priorities and forget God’s centrality in the ministry, then things get scary.