This post is dedicated to young church leaders who are just starting out. As we move into the future you will be serving in a world of digital natives. You will be serving in a world where significance will be measured by how many followers you have in your Google circles instead of how faithful you are to God. This post is for you.
The pursuit of significance seems to be a timeless human pursuit. The platforms and avenues for fame may change over time, however, the pursuit has remained the same. Now that we have personal soap boxes like Google+ Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like, we have more resources at our disposal than ever to help us “live forever.”
I can’t say that it is particularly wrong to desire a life of significance. However, I do get concerned when the pursuit of significance out weighs the pursuit of character and faithfulness. I also get concerned when we start weighing the significance and value of a leader by their visibility and popularity rather than by their character and faithfulness.
Some of the most amazingly effective leaders for Christ I have ever met were leaders who have little or no visibility to anyone other than the communities they serve directly. If you think about it, today’s high visibility leaders only make up a tiny percentage of the leaders in our world who faithfully and effectively grind it out every day in what seems like futile obscurity. What seems like obscurity to us, may be “rock star” status to God. I believe and imagine that from God’s perspective a woman, who against all odds starts a community church in a poor Barrio of the Dominican Republic is just as significant as a high tech pastor in L.A. It may take billions of dollars in social, corporate and production technology for us to see the progress and pursuits of many amazing leaders in today’s society. However, God reads the hearts and mind of every living soul as clearly as you and I read the latest twitter feed of a mega church pastor.
Please remember that God’s definition of significance does not resemble the worlds definition. There will be many pastors who were charged to lead millions and many pastors who were charged to lead 10 who will receive the same reward in heaven. God measures the heart not how many followers you have.
So Young Leaders who desire to make a difference for the Kingdom, I urge you not to pursue ways to increase your influence and significance in the eyes of the world. Christ already gave you the greatest gift of significance in displaying His love for you when he died for you on the cross. How much more significance do you need. Therefore, the mega pastor and the minor church pastor are already equally significant in God’s eyes. Instead of pursuing ways to enlarge your territory, pursue ways to enlarge your heart for Christ. If God blesses you with greater amounts of influence then pray for wisdom and prudence to be faithful to this role.
There is nothing wrong with wanting your life to count for something. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make a difference. However, there is a fine line between the desire to make your life count for Christ and the pursuit of fame. Living up to your significance in Christ is all about Him. However, when your pursuit of making your one and only life count for Him slips into the pursuit of fame it becomes all about you. Trust me…I am an expert on this subject only because I slipped into this pursuit more than once in my life. Every time I go down this path I learn difficult lessons. Lessons you can avoid if you start on the right path early in your adventures in church leadership.