How dependent are today’s churches on a dynamic personality to lead the organization from the pulpit? Talking with a number of people recently about looking for good leadership. I have noticed how important someone’s sermon skills seem to be in today’s church world. When churches look for new pastors, they always want to see them preach more than anything. But I wonder if preaching is even in the top five, maybe top ten criteria for an effective pastor.
I believe the sermon has become a central part of many churches because these organizations have become personality driven more than Spirit led. The sermon is where people hear the heart of the leader. It is truly the bully pulpit. And if stuff is going to get done, it usually happens because people believe in the vision cast by the leader and the confidence he exudes in convincing others that he is right.
There are a lot of churches that have grown massively thanks to charismatic leaders. Thank God for these people. But I wonder if sometimes the growth is a bit hollow and superficial. Good leaders are great. But we have the best leader in Jesus Christ. There is no greater source of inspiration then Him. And there is no more powerful source of strength than the Holy Spirit.
Are we looking to man too much and not God? Of course, a good teacher can help point us to God. But this may not always be the case. Some churches grow because of the seemingly sheer will power of its few key leaders. If the masses are following a man and not God, what happens if the leader falls or decides he doesn’t want to be a “super” pastor any more?
By following men, are we setting ourselves up for disappointment?
I don’t think we set out to follow a person. But it just seems to happen because just like the people of
Israel, we want an earthly king.
When will we ever learn?