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Leadership Traps: #9

#9: Wanting to Be Big
Many of us ambitious, A-type people want to succeed.  That’s the way we get rewarded the most (in our minds).  People start to take notice of our ministry, of our gifts, of how "good" we are. If a church is growing, it strokes egos, makes us feel like we’re "succeeding" and can make us feel great about ourselves.

But church leadership and humility don’t always go hand in hand. Pastors and humility don’t always go hand in hand.  Not often enough anyway.  It’s been a personal struggle for me for years.

In the process of wanting to be big, we can sacrifice people, we can sacrifice faithfulness, we can sacrifice our souls.   (Thought this one would be hard to write — it is.)

God is not the enemy of big.  Those who claim that are dead wrong.  The early church grew by 3000 in a single day, and the vision of heaven in God’s heart is of a multitude too great to count that the church has a pivotal role in reaching. 

But God is the enemy of pride. Too many leaders are quick to claim credit and just as fast to blame others for failures. True, there there are some very "successful" and humble pastors, and ironically there are also "unsuccessful" pastors who are quite full of themselves.  But Jesus and humility always went hand in hand.  And Jesus taught a lot about any of us who would exalt ourselves.

Ironically, when you really let go, and realize how little you have to offer, it’s at that point that you actually begin to release the power of God. 

My prayer:  God, make those of us who lead realize how limited we are, and how truly powerful and good you are. Let me see how little I bring without you. Every day. 


  1. Todd on January 25, 2008 at 8:23 am

    [Sarcasm alert] Way to go Carey…calling out all your pastor friends like that.

    I'm struck by Acts 2:47 every time I read it. In vs. 42-46 we see the church being the church and providing us a model of a great church. Then in vs. 47 we see that it is the Lord who added to the church daily those who were being saved. While the divine-human cooperative is alive and well, I am fully aware that if anyone becomes a Christ-follower, it isn't because of anything the human has done…it is all divine.

  2. Chris Brown on January 24, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Most piercing one yet for me personally, Carey. Managing the tension between seizing the divine moments of life and waiting on the Lord…being aggressive yet being humble and aware…Being passionate yet wise? Probably spend the rest of might life figuring all that out! Good post, my friend.

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