This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
I was criticized pretty severely by someone recently, rather unfairly, I might add. He subscribes to the CEO model of church leadership, and his criticisms (spoken to someone else rather than me) were about a failure on my part to live up to that model. Criticism hurts at the best of times, but quite often it's right. We need our critics just as much as we need our cheerleaders. Ideally, they're the same people. This time it hurt. He should have come to me. Instead, he's postive to my face and critical behind my back. That's called duplicity, and it bugs me. I was upset about this for a few days. This is a testament to my own humanness, frailty, and pride. (Hebrews 12:4 says, "After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin." No, I've just had someone say something mean about me. Big deal.) Yesterday, I finally came to the place again where I realized I have nothing at all to lose. The reason that a lot of pastors pull back is because we think there is a lot to lose. The minute I try to start preserving my pastorate or reputation, I've stopped following Jesus. Yet this is where I find myself slipping so often. Understand: I'm not saying that pastors should be insensitive or dismissive. But I know that many times we're afraid to do or say the right thing because it may have career-limiting consequences. Sometimes the best route to take isn't the safest one. I love being freed up to love and to live without thinking about my safety. Part of being a dying pastor is to stop trying to preserve onself, and to step into the dangerous and exhilarating territory of followership, in which they can kill your body but they can't touch your soul, or (in today's terms) they can fire you from a church, but they can't take away your ministry. Nothing to lose, nothing to hide. Hello. freedom.