Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How humility can help the church

Apparently Francis Chan has decided to step down from his pastoral role at his church and move his family to Asia.  You can read about it here: "Christian famous” pastor quits his church, moves to Asia.

I like this move. I don't know if it's necessarily for every pastor to model specifically--pastors shouldn't just bail on their churches and move to the middle of nowhere just because Francis Chan did. That would probably not be an intended outcome that Chan desires for people to understand about his choice. But if this is a legit decision, then I like the fact that Chan has reached a humility threshold, recognizing that the ministry isn't about him.  That's what people should get from this.

There is a fine line between being influential and being famous. Influence means that you use your God-given gifts to your greatest potential. Fame means that you've been glorified for it.  When fame enters the picture, it's very hard for pastors to resist the temptation to gloat over "their ministry" in Jesus' name.  Once they cross that line, it's not ministry anymore. And famous pastors might be one of those hypocritical pet peeves that the world has against church.

I don't think Chan will lose his influence after embracing a more obscure ministry. (In fact, he's probably even more "famous" now for doing this.) He will still greatly influence people while keeping his ego in check. He has stepped down so that other capable leaders can fill in, and he has left a place of comfort. That kind of humility can only help the church.  It wouldn't surprise me if Francis Chan habitually prays to God the final lines of the Lord's prayer..."Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever."


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