Many of you may not follow much news regarding the Christian church, perhaps some of you do. I do, and something I’ve been seeing more and more of is well-known leaders being outed for their failings. It’s not something I take any delight in. My heart is so heavy over these situations-I think about the spouses and the children who have likely already sacrificed so much in the name of ministry. I think of the people who have been affected, positively or negatively, by the ministry involved. There are churches or publications who have shared their platform with leaders, given them space, and now are left wondering how to handle the fallout of all of this.
As a pastor’s wife, I have wrestled with my feelings about the local church. Community is hard. For us, my husband is pastoring at the church that he essentially grew up in. He’s the middle school pastor and the current high school pastor was HIS youth pastor. Some of our church members have known him since he was an adolescent. And while I only began attending our church about 14 years ago, it’s smack dab in the middle of the community I grew up in. Everywhere we go, someone has known us since we were “knee high to a grasshopper.” I have not always loved this. I am currently 37 years old with grey hairs and three children and a husband of over a decade and am STILL known as “_______’s sister/daughter/cousin.”
Here’s the thing about our community, though. I cannot be someone I am not. Nobody’s gonna go putting me on any pedestal because they know me. Their kids go to school with our kids, they’ve seen me in my literal pajamas at the grocery store when I forgot I had snack duty for preschool, they’ve seen me in my foils at the salon… they’ve seen me yell at my kids, called me because they’ve had to yell at my kids. Many of them saw me through my awkward phase (ages 10-19), my angry single phase, and my exhausted phase when the girls were little, little ones.
I see nationally and internationally known leaders in the faith who fall from the pedestal we’ve placed them on-yes, some have sought it out- and I feel like we owe them an apology. We have asked our leaders to be too much for too long. We ask mere mortals to be for us what only Jesus should be. We search and search for people who reflect our values and exhaust them when really, we should be aligning our values with Jesus and letting Him lead. I am guilty, hand raised in the air, over having elevated people to positions they should have never been placed in. They don’t even know who I am, and I don’t know who they are (not really) but I have asked them to shepherd me and scratch some itches.
Here’s what I’m getting at, for my fellow believers: Love Christ supremely, and serve in your local church. Love the people God has placed around you. Immerse yourself in His word-not books about His word or movies about people who say they love His word, but His actual WORD. Become disciples. Seek to serve in your church. I’m going to tell you right now-serving in your church is a way to get some skin in the game and drop the spectator label. Take the first clumsy and imperfect step. I am doing it and I’ll tell you it’s a game changer.
Community is hard and messy and far from perfect. I have messed up, am currently messing up, and I will mess up again. So will the person with the Number One Bestseller or Highest Grossing Christian Film or Top Worship Hit. There is only One who will not fail us-God alone is worthy of being placed on the pedestal. His platform is infallible, He is unchanging, and He will never let us down.