Orginally published on Monday, June 16, 2008 at 7:42 AM
by Todd Rhoades
One of the blogs I read regularly is BrianJones.com. Brian is the lead pastor of Christ Church of the Valley and has a real heart for leading his church to maturity in Christ. I had the opportunity to meet Brian a few weeks ago in Orlando. He's the real deal.
On a recent Sunday Gene Appel spoke at Brian's church, and Brian was a little disappointed that more people didn't attend the services to hear Gene speak. Someone on his staff suggested that maybe people didn't come to church that week because Brian wasn't speaking.
Ever have a moment of righteous indignation? Well, Brian did, and he posted his honest and very direct open letter to his church on his blog. (Brian has a great dialog with his church members on his blog. They trust him. And that gives him the respect he needed to pull off this post). Here's what he wrote:
This past Sunday one of the great pastors in our country spoke at our church.
Yet, a significant number of you chose to either sleep in or blow off church to do something else. Attendance on Sunday was 1,062, which is just pitiful for our church.
Many leaders at CCV wonder if people chose not to come because you knew I was not speaking.
Please understand that if that turns out to be the case, honest to God you won’t hear me speak until 2009. I will hire first-year Bible college interns who can barely chew gum and talk at the same time to rotate the speaking responsibilities for the next 6.5 months.
I will not have any part in helping build a church around a person, personality, or particular style of preaching.
What a strong and powerful way to communicate your passion and integrity as a leader. This is a great example, as far as I’m concerned, of leading out of love. As a matter of fact, Brian later shares in the comment section:
The issue here is discipleship. Are we trying to put on a “religious show” where people will attend based on the person presenting God’s word, or are we fashioning a gates-of-hell-storming-community of disciples?
1 Corinthians 1:17ff makes it drop-dead clear that leaders cannot participate in exacerbating personality adoration in the body of Christ. “I follow Paul.” “I follow Cephas.” “I follow Christ.” Paul went nuts over this, as he should!
The focal point of CCV can never be Brian Jones, ever. And as one of its servants, if I sense that I am getting in the way of someone’s ability to grow as a disciple, it is my God-ordained responsibility as a pastor to remove that barrier. That’s not a threat, or un-Christ-like behavior; it’s spiritual leadership.
Thanks, Brian, for the transparency and the guts to share some tough love when it’s needed.
I wonder…is your church built on personality? If so, how can you communicate the importance of getting back to the one thing that IS important?
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