I recently watched a movie about Pastors, desiring to advance their ministerial career. The story line was one of a perfect storm of Pastoral leadership gone awry.
Two pastors are waiting for their next move within the church. One, impatient leaves, taking his wife and their expected trust fund to start their own church. The other, suggesting being patient "a little longer" stays. After starting the new church and beginning service, they quickly find out the trust fund balance wasn't nearly what they expected. The new church is short-lived.
While that's going on, the patient pastor writes an anonymous letter, leading to the Senior Pastors removal, along with that of his right-hand man, a life-long friend. After some conflict, the "patient" pastor takes charge. Then, the power trip begins.
For the purposes of this post, the downward spiral begins when he shows symptoms of what I'll call the MMW effect.
Don't mess with the message. - God is pretty clear on this point.
Don't mess with the money. - An offense more appalling than politicians' and taxpayer dollars
Don't mess with the women. - This never bodes well for anyone, whether it's a two-income marriage where both make minimum wage, the CEO who's millions come with extra zeros or the Pastor whose pulpit reaches a few or many.
If there's away to do the wrong thing, perfectly... this character pulls all the stops.
Bad decisions executed flawlessly. Pretty sure this is what's known as a royal screw-up. Brilliant stupidity also comes to mind.
As the movie unfolds.... conflict. drama. tension. The story line progresses and it borders on worst-case scenario situations.
Sadly, I recall a real-life story of a Pastor who experienced a fall from grace. Huge ministry. Big money. And when someone told him things were getting out of hand and it was time to shut it down, he didn't. Why? Because the ministry was doing so well. At least financially. And it was taking control. That pastor's demise came much like the movie. Too big to fail leads to a loud thud upon one hitting the ground.
1500-1700 pastors leaving each month? Somewhere, someone is leaving because of a problem from messing with the message, the money, or the people. Some pastor is probably battling it right now. The fallout hasn't happened yet, but it's getting awfully close. It's scary. It's heart-breaking. It's problematic. It's preventable.
Pray, this #youthPastorWednesday, for all pastors who have succumb to some level of a power trip. For younger pastors, those just starting out working with kids and teens, pray God help guard their hearts and minds. May they remain focused on fulfilling their calling rather than climbing ministries' ladder. Pray for pastors in trouble, whether the spiral is just starting or about to unravel before their very eyes... may God work the miraculous. Pray the spirit of pride, ego and position be broken; that God may do a corrective, cleansing work in their heart. In time, may they experience healing and restoration in their life regardless of what consequences may result from the fallout.
God, help the congregations and communities affected. May such events not hinder the advancement of the Gospel.
May God work all things, even events tragic as portrayed in the movie, for His good. For His glory. By His grace.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.