AND CHURCH LEADERS
James C. Guy
It's amazing how much toys, like many other things, have
changed. Originally, toy cars were
little more than blocks of wood with wheels that you pushed or pulled with a
string. They went where you pulled
them, but had no power. Later, motors
and batteries were added that allowed them to go by themselves, but only in a
straight line. When it hit a wall, it
would just spin and grind until the batteries ran down, the motor burned up, or
someone moved it to go in another pointless direction. Soon, "bump-and-go" technology
allowed the toy car to reverse direction when it hit a wall. Of course, it would just turn and hit
another wall with no real sense of direction.
It was never content to sit still, but never went where it needed to
go. Problem was, they just keep
changing directions and never seem to get anywhere. In fact, it often ended up in the same directions over and over
Then, radio controlled cars came along. Now, the car had the ability to be steered
where it needed to go. If you drive one
too fast at first, it may be too difficult to control. It does make for some interesting
experiences though. Eventually, you can
drive them much faster and do more tricks with it because you, as the driver,
have become more skilled in directing it.
Churches and leaders are often like the toy cars.
There are the wooden cars churches that are pulled in
every direction, going wherever the one holding the string may pull us. Like children, we may fight over who gets to
pull the string in the direction WE want it to go. Leaders are more often being led by politics and personalities
than by the Savior. Rather than leading
where Christ leads, they follow where dominant personalities in the church
lead. We end up being led around
aimlessly, like "children tossed to and fro" (Ephesians 4:14);
getting nowhere and accomplishing nothing.
Others are like the battery-operated cars that only
go one direction. Once that direction
is set, there is no deviating from it.
There are no changes to be made.
We may find the direction we have been going in the first place is not
the direction we need to be going. But,
we are so hard headed we refuse to change.
We believe our direction is the right direction and there is no changing
it. We call OUR direction, God's
direction. But, is it (Matthew
15:9)? When obstacles stand in the way,
we simply sit and spin until we wear out or someone reluctantly sets us in
another rigid direction that will only lead to another dead-end obstacle. There is no way to steer around them or to
get where we need to be going.
Leadership steps in only when necessary to keep the
"all-important" church contribution and attendance from dying. But, eventually - it will.
Then, there is the "bump-and-go" church. When an obstacle is met, rather than move it
or drive around it, we simply change directions and head somewhere else. Though we will not stay stuck in one place
for very long, neither are we headed anywhere in particular. We may be active and constantly moving, but
where are we going? There is no sense
of direction and purpose, only pointless activity. We are like "sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). Leaders are involved only to "give
permission" to whatever people want to do. Politics have a higher priority than purpose. Leaders attempt to keep members happy rather
than on track.
Then there are the driver-controlled churches. They are cool, exciting, fun, can do new
tricks, and go over and around things.
They can be steered in any direction including reverse when needed. They also have the ability to go straight
and head in a determined direction, but to change when needed. They have the ability to do all of this, but
must have a driver. Like the
radio-controlled cars, Christ's church has the ability to do what it needs to
do, and go where it needs to go. If our
congregation is stagnant, dying, or has no sense of direction and purpose, it
is because the leaders are not steering the church in the direction Jesus wants
it to go. We may be driven by programs
and activities, traditions, or not at all.
We may be sitting and spinning our wheels because we refuse to change,
or change so often that we don't know where we are going.
To change that, we must realize that God is the power, and
He works though us (Ephesians 3:20). He
has put in the body of Christ, all the talents and abilities needed to do His
work in the church (I Corinthians 12:4-12ff.).
He has placed leaders with the responsibility of "equipping"
the saints to do His work as they participate in it (Ephesians 4:11-12). Godly churches cannot be one-man shows, or
driven by select people. For the church
to grow and go where it needs to go, Jesus must determine the direction
(Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and leaders must be willing to be both
flexible and firm in order to steer the church where God wants it to go. We must stay on course, but be willing to
change direction when needed. We must
be able to separate where we are going from how we will get there – to distinguish
between the rigid message and flexible methods. And, we must all do it together, unified in the purposes of
God. Who drives your church? Who drives your life? What direction are you headed? How will you get there?
2005 © Copyright James C. Guy – All rights
reserved. Permission is granted to
reproduce in church bulletins, for Bible class purposes, and other similar
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