self help is sometimes impossible

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Reports show the most widely purchased books by Christians these days center on one of two topics—self help or leadership.  Now there may well be some valuable information in some of these books for Christians, but I wonder why we insist on listening to the latest and greatest ideas from men, instead of looking to God’s Word to get our questions answered.

Leadership is a crucial topic for church and ministry leaders these days.  As we often share, as leaders we are called to be watchmen on the wall and show true leadership for those God has entrusted to our care.  And again, some Christians have written excellent books on leadership in Christianity.  But some pastors and authors seem intent on giving in to worldly leadership principles instead of watching just how Jesus led.  Think about some of the teachings of the purpose driven and emergent teachers on leadership and marketing—don’t put crosses up in your church because they turn people off; don’t preach line by line out of the bible—you need to use real life examples and stories that affect people in these times; don’t preach on sin because it doesn’t make people feel good.

It seems we are intent on doing exactly the opposite of what Jesus did when he taught and led.  And while man’s leadership principles may lead to a growth in numbers and finances, they will eventually leave people dry and empty.  If you doubt it just ask our youth what they think about the church these days.

Just this morning I met a young man who told me he was raised in the church, committed his life to Jesus and was baptized at about age 12.  He was then basically cut loose left to fend and grow on his own.  He strayed from God for a while but has now returned.  He is a part of a wonderful men’s group in Green Bay that is taking a new fresh look at how older more mature believers can walk along side young men in their early walk with Jesus.

What we need to grow God’s true church are a couple of very basic things—teach the Word of God and develop mature men and women who can disciple new young Christians.  Teach them what we have learned from God about sin, repentance and complete trust in God.  Help them understand that the quicker they surrender to God’s will, the more they will grow and draw nearer to Him.

The last thing churches and ministries need is another action plan based on the wisdom of men.  What we need is the Word of God being taught and men and women who are mature in the Word to come along side our future leaders, investing in them and teaching them.  It worked in the first century church—the Holy Spirit added to their numbers daily.  And all without a marketing plan or strategic vision from man.   Imagine that!