The aim of this teaching is to help sharpen our resolve. Too many leaders are being disqualified. Strong leaders who stay the course are needed for the coming revival. If Satan sidelines these leaders he has accomplished a huge part of his goal. America has many mature believers who have become wounded warriors. They have chosen a form of spiritual sleep as an escape from their pain. Church veterans have stepped into the shadows of inactivity because they were victimized, hurt, or have become disillusioned with the church. They still believe in God, but no longer connect. They have backed up and withdrawn from active duty. The reasons include sexual and moral failure, abusive church politics, selfish ambition, unfulfilled expectations, and various personal attacks against their marriages, their children, their financial stability, and their health. Satan uses any and all tactics to disqualify those who could harm him. The casualty count is staggering. Christians know of spiritual warfare but often do not realize that Satan’s real prize is to personally disqualify them from effective service.
Although most leaders in the church do not fall into sin, some do. Pastors, their wives, and other leaders live in the same immoral society as everyone else. They can follow its sinful influence like any other person. Paul warns leaders to guard their souls against the pressures of temptation, lest while they have preached to others, they themselves should become castaways (See 1Corinthians 9:27, Romans 2:21).
When church leaders, at any level, fall into sin, the effects are far reaching. Churches lose momentum, and some take such a beating, usually from their own people, that they cease to exist. The leader in question is almost always disqualified from ministry, even after he changes his ways. It is extremely rare that he or she can ever return to the same level of ministry as before.
Many leaders who were disciples of that leader become dysfunctional because of discouragement or the collapse of the ministry. Sin is painful and the church has not found a graceful way of reinstating her fallen generals. People can forgive, but it is hard to regain trust and confidence once it has eroded. This can produce wounded people, broken homes, devastated churches, and disqualified leaders.
Another reason for the disqualification of leaders is pride. All people should believe for great miracles and blessings. Often, however, there is a mixture, of a godly calling, opportunism, and selfish ambition. Derek Prince said, “The greatest problem in the church is selfish ambition.”
Sometimes people’s expectations are wrapped up in their pride. It is pride and personal attention that motivates them to serve in the church. Some are only happy when they are being promoted. If they are not promoted they will be sad and may even become destructive. There is an old adage, “If a person complains when they are left out, they will be puffed up when they are brought in.”
Many of these ambitious folk have tremendous gifting, but they have a blind spot when it comes to self-evaluation. If only their character matched their talents they would be great leaders. As it is, because of their pride, many cannot be given positions of leadership, and some abandon ship because they feel unappreciated.
Some who are not prideful are overlooked even though they have amazing gifting. In time they become disqualified because they give up. This may be because the church is too small and there are not enough meetings or people to warrant more leaders. So there is no room for them. Sometimes the senior pastor is a cork in the bottle; he is a one-man show. He does the worship leading, the preaching, the small group teaching, the pastoral visits, and the administrative decision making. After a while, people stop serving because they are not being used. They are called to leadership but the pastor will not let them lead. This is very sad because it takes the whole body of Christ to do the whole will of God. An insecure pastor does not share the workload. When this happens the devil wins and the leaders who could be serving tend to drift off into a deep spiritual sleep.
The devil is a roaring lion, roaming the earth, seeking whom he can devour. He takes the innocent and the vulnerable, but he is after the leaders of God’s church. When he removes a leader he wipes out many people. His attacks are obvious.
As I write, my daughter and son-in-law, have left to lead a mission. Last night a water pipe in their house burst. You might say, “that is a coincidence with really bad timing.” This was not due to their negligence, it was a manufacturer’s defect in the pipe. The fact that it burst just before the trip, when they are busy with the details of the mission, is more than suspicious. It was a demonic attack against them; the devil tries to wear out and stop ministers.
For decades, I watched the devil attack my wife and I just before ministry events. It never stopped us, so he attacks us less now. It seems, he learned that it is futile to hassle us because we are determined to press on. Nevertheless, I see, he goes after the younger crowd all the time. So many start a ministry but come under attack and then pull back. National leaders have passed the baton to others before their term was over resulting in a weakening of the mission. The devil’s attacks come in the form of sickness, financial stress, strife in the family, and perhaps the hardest one to handle, severe sickness affecting our children. Many leaders back off, refusing to fight any longer. Many retreat to the proverbial hammock, in the yard, sleeping while the storm of the ages is brewing.
Churches are communities of people so there will always be some politics. We trust that churches will have good politics.
All too often, however, policies, prejudices, and priorities, displace the more important dynamics of love for people.
When this happens folks feel like they are being used, or that they are being pushed around, patronized, and overlooked. Soon they feel unimportant as if they are just numbers and not people.
It can even get worse; some senior leaders actually attack their own sheep. They degrade them or correct them so harshly that they inflict serious wounds. That is abuse, and it drives people away. We call this, “Church Politics,” and it is all too common.
This has a lasting negative effect on the leaders. It means they will hesitate before serving in the next church and some will be disqualified for life. The devil is the winner with that outcome.
These leaders are wounded and many go into a spiritual slumber. They focus on loving their families and helping a few friends here and there, but their calling and purpose is largely lost.
We are not ignorant of the devils devices, but it will take courage, forgiveness and Holy Spirit power to turn this mess around. The Lord is beginning to restore impossible situations because we are entering a time of revival. The Lord is looking for humble participation from His sons and daughters.
In the day of His power the Lord will wake up leaders who are sleeping. He will reconnect those who have become disconnected. He will restore those who are wounded and reinstate those who have been disqualified from the ministry. Get ready to dream again. The armies of God will march forward and they will learn to stay qualified.