Francis Chan, Letters to the Church
Good Shepherds (chapter 5)
“For those who have never had to deal with floods of people strongly stating their opinions about you, be grateful. I have met very few people who have navigated that world and remained humble and loving yet courageous.
“Large crowds do something strange to all of us. We can subconsciously begin preaching to avoid criticism rather than teaching truth regardless of the response. We live in a time when people are so volatile.
“If we say one wrong word in public, it can wreak havoc. It is only going to get more difficult for pastors to speak in front of large crowds with boldness and humility.
“Maybe that’s why we are finding fewer pastors known for being humble and courageous. I was deeply affected by a pastor in China who said to me, “In America, pastors think they have to become famous to have a big impact.
“In China, the most influential Christian leaders had to be the most hidden.” My soul leaped when I heard that, imagining a chance to fight for impact and obscurity all at once.
“It feels as if our current way of doing things in America sets us up for failure. Those who pursue massive Kingdom impact seem to always be fighting a losing battle with pride.
“It is how the Enemy lures us away from the very character that makes us effective.”
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
-Hebrews 13:17 (ESV)
“Leaders, I want to challenge you to examine your lives and see whether you can truly tell people in good conscience to follow you as you follow Christ.
“For those not yet in positions of leadership, as we go through the qualities that are essential for good, biblical leadership, I urge you to examine your leaders in a spirit of grace and humility to discern whether their faith and way of life is something you want to imitate. For some of you, God may be calling you to step into leadership, and I implore you to devote yourself to growing in the following areas.
THE CHRISTIAN PASTOR
“That heading may sound ridiculous, but is it safe to assume all pastors are Christians? Just because we claim to believe in Him or went to school to study for ministry, it doesn’t ensure that our hearts are His.
“Having spent two years in Bible college and three years in seminary, I can tell you that a degree can be proof of intelligence or discipline but not spirituality. Those were easily the five worst years of my life.
“Remember that in Jesus’ day, some of the religious leaders were the most evil. Scripture is always warning us to be on guard against false teachers.
“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
“And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.
-2 Peter 2:1-3a (ESV)
“There will always be false teachers on this earth.
“Jesus taught that wolves will come in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15). What better camouflage than as a minister? Some will teach false doctrine because of their desire to be accepted. Others will preach truth while living a lie
“Whether it’s their message or lifestyle that is false, both are condemned. If you read the rest of 2 Peter 2, you will see that terrifying judgement is reserved for them.
“If you are reading this and living an immoral life, it is time to step down. The worst thing you can be is a false teacher. There is nothing more evil you can do during your few years on earth than to lead people away from their Creator.