I just can’t get rid of this burr under my saddle…

Burra burr is a small seed which has stiff bristles or hooks around it.  once a burr has grabbed on to something, it does not want to let go.  when a burr gets under a horses saddle, it annoys the animal causing it to be testy  and angry, as the burr digs into its flesh causing discomfort.  this same reaction occurs in me.

last week, there was a pretty disgusting video floating around showing a pastor going wacky on his church family during a sermon.  if you haven’t seen it, you can check it out here.  to me, its just another example of a pastor believing it’s his church and his flock and his position and his his calling and his reputation.

his words and his tone and his assumptions are sickening.  i don’t understand why the people just sat there and let him spew.  i guess because they believe he is god’s man for them.  he’s their shepherd.  he’s their leader.

it’s bad.  it’s toxic.  it’s abusive.  it’s totally ridiculous.  but i don’t fault the pastor completely.  he’s just pushing the envelope on what this position has been allowed to become.  what i see today is simply the 21st century version of what happened when the church and rome got in bed together back in the 3rd century.  power corrupts.

and following jesus has never been about power.

fast forward to this morning.  i just finished reading a short post about leadership.  here’s a snippet:

“Pessimists can’t lead when the focus stays on what can’t be done”.

My experience:  things don’t get done in many churches because of all the reasons they can’t be done or because of all the reasons things won’t work.

That church, my friend, has a pessimistic leader.

Don’t get me wrong.  Don’t be stupid.  Don’t do stupid things.

But if all you ever hear from your leader is why things won’t work, or why things can’t happen… maybe you need to start looking for a new leader.

Because this much is true:  nothing WILL happen when you have a leader like that.

Pessimists CAN’T lead.

Don’t keep them in charge.

i don’t disagree with the premise.  strong, healthy organizations generally have strong, decisive, optimistic leaders.  i get it.  but i also see something else.

throughout history, the role of pastor-minister-shepherd-reverend-elder-bishop-priest-rector-whatever turned into a power position.  power in the church.  power in politics.  power in the community.  the reverend was to be revered.  and it’s only gotten worse as history drags on.

and somewhere along the line, during my lifetime, we began substituting the word “leader” for the word “shepherd”.    we started  to refer to the church as an organization in need of strong leadership.  if the church was going to do anything (i.e., grow, expand, build, hire, influence, impact, innovate, etc…), it needed a leader to pave the way.

and we needed to keep hiring and firing until we got it…get it.. right.

and not just any kind of leader.  we wanted…no, needed…a strong man.  a decisive man.  a gifted man.  a man with vision and influence and personality and charisma.  a man who could motivate and inspire and encourage and persuade.  a man people would respect and follow.  a man who would lead us to new heights and to be everything we could never be on our own.

wow.  i just inspired…me.

don’t get me wrong.  i admire great leaders.  i’m a big fan of vince lombardi and general patton and a few of our presidents and my first boss at the boy’s club of national city.  i guess i just have this continued problem with a man being the singular “leader” of a church.

i don’t see it in the bible.  i don’t see it in the heart of jesus.  i don’t see it in the history of the first century church.

but i see it…and hear it…loud and clear these days.  and unfortunately, we often get more…or less…than what we are asking for.

and i can’t help but think we are somehow missing the point of why jesus died on the cross.


7 thoughts on “I just can’t get rid of this burr under my saddle…

  1. You said: “and not just any kind of leader. we wanted…no, needed…a strong man. a decisive man. a gifted man. a man with vision and influence and personality and charisma. a man who could motivate and inspire and encourage and persuade. a man people would respect and follow. a man who would lead us to new heights and to be everything we could never be on our own.”

    We got that!

    He died on across for all of our sins. Doesn’t matter if those sins were in the video booth or on the pulpit. Thankfully His sacrifice was way bigger than our own stupidity. We need “leaders” that concentrate a heck of a lot more on teaching about only true “leader” and worry a heck of a lot less about the new church building Jesus needs to reach more people with. His leadership model was to pick up stones to lighten other’s loads not so He could throw them at them.

  2. Wow. This guy is not a leader. He is a dictator that has a God complex. He says you need to submit to me. I thought that we submitted to Jesus. Unbelievable. Sorry but this guy would have received a poke in the face from me if he had called me or my family out like that in a church service.

  3. Honestly, I nearly started crying listening to this rant. I wonder if he is ill. I wonder what has happened in his life to cause him to have such a distorted view of what it means to lead and influence and serve in the name of Jesus. He worries me and scares me. We need to pray for him and those in his church family. It doesn’t appear as though this man really knows Jesus. Think of all those people who are getting the wrong message. Wow!!

  4. Can I just say “Wow” about the video. I really pray that they didn’t have any seekers present. Hopefully he won’t make good on his word to leave to do damage in another Church.

  5. Well said Mike! Very wise words. One of the best rants i have read in a long time; almost reminds me of Mike Yaconelli… I have been struggling with some of these issues as well. In your opinion, what do we need to do to get back to the heart of Jesus on this matter?

  6. Reblogged this on joepuentesblog.COM and commented:
    I almost never reblog other people’s post, but this one is worthy of being reblogged! Very wise words from a very wise godly man. Well said Mike! One of the best rants on the current state of church leadership I have read in a long time; almost reminds me of Mike Yaconelli.

    I encourage my readers to follow Mike’s blog. He is a very real and authentic pastor who personally has helped me through some of the toughest times in my life.

  7. I don’t get y’all when it comes to this leader.
    I feel like the blame for his rant should be on his congregation.

    Who made him a leader? The people that go to his church.
    Who keeps crazy leaders in office? The people that go to his church.

    In the video, he stated he would just go down to the next hole in the wall church. It may not be anyone replying on this blog, but someone will follow him.
    I don’t understand why we hammer on whacko leaders, when we are the humans to buy in to or support guys like this.

    So who is sinning, the pastor or the people that follow him? Or, it just bad judgement on both? Is he going to hell for his sin or the peps he called out going to hell for their sins? Is there a PC way to deal with sin?

    Why can’t we hammer his congregation for following a fool?
    If that church was on the other side of Mill street, and if we had the chance, would we speak with a member of their misguidance?

    Who’s the more foolish? The fool, or the fool who follows him? – Obi-Wan Kenobi

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