Leadership is always good; it’s your heart that’s wrong

This graphic went viral yesterday, and I had to ready to defend the hope that I have. (1 Peter 3:5). This way of thinking is incorrect and downright dangerous.

Let’s get two things clear right off the bat:

1. Your Church leadership is not Jesus

2. You are not Judas

Blanket statements like this really break my heart, simply because they have the potential to damage the opinions and beliefs of people who have BEEN already hurt by church leadership; those people have the tendency to run hard & away from having a personal relationship with Jesus. And THAT kills me. So, I’m going to take a few minutes to write this so people know that this is not nor should it be the position of the universal church.

When leaders and people don’t agree, having conversations and pushing through the hard stuff with mercy and grace is always the right answer and leads to stronger relationships

Judas was greedy and selfish. It was his auto-mode, so-to-speak, even when he was side by side with Jesus in ministry. (John 12:3-8) so his heart did not change and his life did not turn around. This point is correct.

Today’s church leaders aren’t Jesus, so they have flaws. In fact, many look more like Judas than Jesus: seeking ways to make more money, adding new capital campaigns, expanding their own personal platforms. With hearts for Jesus, like Judas many are blinded by ego and choked with fame, failing to see that they’ve “taken the 30 pieces of silver” that the temporal world has given them to sell out on their Savior. (Matthew 6:24)

Judas failed. I fail everyday. We are all alike in that (even leaders and pastors *gasp*). That’s makes us human. The only cure for our humanity is forgiveness gifted to every single person us Jesus’ sacrifice: Judas, failed leaders, successful leaders, murderers, adulterers, abusers and the abused. all the peeps. We should be positioned at his feet pouring our expensive oil on them and thanking Jesus for His very presence in our lives. Instead, so many are like Judas looking how to sell it and get that money back. Our hearts and lives should be “all in” for Him, not for an organization or a pastor/leader..

We have a choice to change our attitude and hearts, yes. When we live all in for Jesus our character has no choice but the change. Not because we have to or want to.  Bur, because a relationship with Jesus, leaning in close enough into His arms that we can hear His breath and feel His chest rise also changing our breath. Leaning into him changes our decisions, reactions and demeanor because knowing him so well also changes our perspective from temporal to eternal.

In conclusion, “ don’t need no stained glass to be washed in His blood.” (Blanca) We don’t need spectacular lighting systems, amazing videos, spot on graphics or events that get wilder and wilder to up the creative ante every year. Jesus didn’t do that, and people were drawn to him. Like the most delicious roaming food truck, Jesus went, and wherever he was people found him. No walls. No stained glass. No lighting or production, or even a church, just Jesus.

Church should be the pep rally of believers on a Sunday, but His work is done in the street, Monday through Saturday, on the ground, in our workplaces, and through Holy Spirit giftings. Churches should be a place that not only draws people no matter where it is, but also a send people out, out where we can live out God-given talents and passions, supported by the body of believers. Our joy, our destiny, our service is not tied to the local church, but to the heartstrings if Jesus, Himself. We need to get out of the “hand raise” mentality and grow people so they can go! Salvation is not drive thru peace or instant hope. Our journey as believers is deeply layered. Churches tend to be salvation-cultured and completely out of the business of discipleship for sheer numbers (think megachurches where no one knows your name….OR disciple-cultured with new people or salvations (think dying churches, full of saints with graveyards next door). We need a balance in the force and a re-striking of the fire to a gospel-centric culture, a Jesus focused message and mission. Jesus charged us in the Great Commission to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach. We are to keep going. Keep baptizing. Keep teaching. The two mega-churches often miss – teaching people after the hand raise, discipling – sending THEM to to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach – that creates growth in people AND in the Kingdom. 

Last point... will we always be the same like the last line in the viral graphic says? I sure hope not. That would discount Christ’s redemptive power and our access to growing in relationship with Him. Aaaaand, same is boring.

Seek truth. Don’t rely on my words or any words. Pray, read HIS Word. Fast for direction when necessary. He is the only Truth. Us people get it wrong all the time.

Blanket statements can be unhealthy. Ask questions. Think deeper. Most of all… love first and let everything else be a conversation.

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Dawn Sutherland

misfit-writer-speaker & social-justice-wannabe. I wander, but I'm not lost. I love Jesus not religion. My heart's cry is for every person to feel an empowered sense that they belong, and that we get to face the world wild and equipped with the love and hope of Jesus. I live in Suffolk, Virginia with my amazing husband, Louis and have four awesome kids: Katie, Ronnie, Selah, and Sami. I am also a passionate fitness instructor at the Suffolk YMCA. Subscribe to the blog, and stay tuned in for the book YOU BELONG to be published soon, which will talk about our desire as women to "fit in" and how we can harness that to change the world!