What is God teaching you?
As a leader within Christ’s church, I have one simple rule for anyone who serves alongside me. If you don’t have an answer when I ask you, “What is God teaching you?” you will be immediately let go. It sounds harsh, right? What if they are a great asset to the church? What will happen to their family? What will happen to their future in ministry? Those are great questions, but before anyone joins our staff, they will be forewarned ahead of time about this simple rule.
The reason for this rule is greater than how harsh you think this rule is. As elders, leaders, and pastors in the church, we better be growing and learning from the Lord daily. How can we expect to make disciples if we are not being disciples devoted to prayer, the Word, and worship ourselves? That would be like going to an obese trainer and saying, “Make me fit and healthy like you.” How can they train you to be fit and healthy if they are not fit and healthy themselves? The same concept applies to undershepherds, too.
Leading people for God’s glory isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it. However, leading people in the church mandates that you are being led by God first and foremost. Paul told the Church in Corinth, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). Could you say that if you are not learning and growing in Christ? Leaders are by nature examples to those they lead. I want to ensure that those who serve alongside me are growing in their imitation of Christ so they can be examples to the disciples God has given us to steward. Therefore, this question is not harsh, but rather a means to help my staff be gospel-driven and effective leaders.
Leading God’s people requires leaders to be spending time with God as redeemed people.
I’m not the only one who has this type of rule either. At a preaching conference last year, I heard James Merritt make a similar statement about leading his staff. Francis Chan commented, “I once told my staff to let me know if they were not praying at least an hour a day. This way I could replace them with someone who would. I would much rather hire someone who prayed and did nothing else than someone who worked tirelessly without praying” (Letters to the Church, 113). Leading God’s people requires leaders to be spending time with God as redeemed people.
This rule is not only to help them be effective, godly leaders, but this question serves as a means to protect them from moral failure, also. We are seeing a massive amount of church leaders falling due to various moral failures. In my conversations with my mentors, I have seen a trend in moral failures of pastors. The trend seems to be a lack of daily time with the Lord. Make no doubt about it. Pastors who are not spending time being taught by the Lord in personal quiet times are pastors who are getting ready to fall.
Therefore, this rule does not seem to be as harsh as you originally thought, does it? This questions is designed to create healthy, accountable, pure, and effective leaders who serve God’s people. However, this question should not be reserved only for leaders in the church, but rather all believers. So, “What is God teaching you?”