Why some Christian leaders fail.


Celebrity is the worst drug in Christian leadership right now.

The problem is, it often starts from a good place.

You’re a young Christian leader with a platform that starts to grow. Your church does well. Your blog blows up. You start speaking at a lot of events. And in the midst of that swirl, you quietly start to think to yourself, “If I get a bigger platform, God will get bigger glory.” But eventually as you start to believe your own hype, that mutates into “If I get a bigger platform, I’ll get bigger glory.”

This happens for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it’s because Christian leaders refuse to have people in their lives who can tell them no. A church where the word “no” is off limits is doomed. Sometimes the leader is trying to heal an old wound with new attention. I’ve done that. One day a friend said to me, “No offense, but if the attention you’ve gotten so far hasn’t healed whatever wound you think you have already, none is going to.” He’s right. That’s one of the reasons I go to counseling.

But I think there’s also a part of us that thinks God needs our platform. He needs our abilities. He needs us to win. Here’s the truth about that:

God will never be handcuffed by your failures or unleashed by your successes.

He doesn’t need me to complete him. He is already complete. He doesn’t need me to play my role in his story or it won’t be told. It will be, his plan will be done, regardless of my ability to do it. He doesn’t need me, he loves me. He invites me into his story and allows me to be part of it as an act of love not desperation. There’s a big difference.

For the last few years I’ve been coaching leaders, especially given the minefield that social media offers us. I’ve learned something. Influence is not a good thing or a bad thing, it is just a thing. It is a knife, useful for cutting through lies and clearing the clutter to show people the truth. You just have to make sure you hold the right end.


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  1. says

    Love this. I have been pondering these ideas in the wake of the World Vision/Noah Movie/Mark Driscoll drama. It seems like Christian leaders seem to salivate at any new Christian drama–looking for a reason to write a scathing blogpost that will soar with regard to clicks, comments, and likes.

    Ironic, probably hypocritical plug::
    I’m a nobody with a crappy blog I sometimes update. Here’s my post on the issue

  2. DWH says

    Coming totally late to the comment party because all this is going down at my church right now, and I got caught in the crossfire of it, and it has been the single most awkward and unfortunate thing I’ve ever gone through in any church. The one thing holding me through is knowing that God is bigger than all the drama, and the church belongs to him and not any of us.

    It’s still kind of hard to stomach the sheer hubris that so much of the leadership seems to be blind to, since they’re stuck in a positive feedback loop. But I guess we all just have to trust that God’s got this.

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