But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction. — Malachi 2:8-9
A lot of people misunderstand the primary role of a spiritual leader. This is because most only see the external workings of the role. They see a building. They see a staff team. They see programs. Therefore they conclude that vocational spiritual leadership is just like any other job. But it's not. The primary role of a spiritual leader is not vision casting, fundraising, staff management, or building programs. It's not about officiating weddings, funerals, and that token prayer before meals at events. The primary role of a spiritual leader is the stewardship of God's Truth and faithfully communicating it to God's people with our deviation. That's it. God's Truth is the primary and sole resource that spiritual leaders steward.
As a spiritual leader, I believe where many in my vocation get off track is right here. They misunderstand the focus of their role. Therefore as soon as they become overfocused on some diversion (i.e., capital campaign, building project, mass program implementation), then all they can see is this. And to make this diversion work, they have to divert time and energy to selling it to people in a way that might appease them. The danger in this is twofold. First, it diverts time from their primary role, communicating God's Truth. Second, it's tempting to appease people to accomplish the plan they are trying to sell. And in my 30 years of working in full-time ministry, I have seen things like this cause more division and distractions in churches that exhaust spiritual leaders and keep them from their primary role. So weekly, the leader spends less time communicating the truth and more time appeasing his plan and presenting it to people. But the spiritual leader does not need another plan, and the people are not his people. The plan and the people belong to God, and many leaders have been led away by this.
If you are a spiritual leader today, and you feel diverted by diversions. Come back. Come back to stewarding God's Truth and God's people. This was the ultimate failure of the leaders in this text. Don't be that guy.
And for those of you following a spiritual leader today. Pray for them. Pray for their focus on God's Truth. Pray that they have the courage to read the truth, accept it, and deliver it. Because like you, I am afraid that we live in times where many spiritual leaders are being diverted by diversions that are not the truth but only attempts to appease people.
ASK THIS: How do you need to respond to God's Truth today?
DO THIS: Pray and act.
PRAY THIS: God, we need spiritual leaders today who speak your truth, not their truth. Raise a generation of timely spiritual leaders.
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