A Christian incumbent is really not that different from an elected incumbent. Both often get sucked into a “business-as-usual” mindset that renders them useless at best and dangerous at worst. Useless incumbents go through all the right church motions, attending and supporting everything that they feel “the people” need, but never realizing that they are also one of the people who need it. Dangerous incumbents lobby, use guilt and basically force “the people” to do what they decide regardless of whether or not it’s biblical, healthy or even beneficial to anyone other than them. These are the ones that are addicted to power and use it.
So how do you avoid becoming a Christian incumbent like that? Here are 6 things to look out for or work on…
- Remember who you serve. It’s not yourself, and it’s not even all those “little people” It is the Lord Christ you are serving (Colossians 3:23-25)
- Love others. You can’t just say you love others, you need to actually show it. (Romans 13:8-10)
- Break out of the rut. In other words learn to say, “I don’t know, let’s try it” instead of “I don’t know, we’ve never done it that way before.” After all, Jesus takes every one of us and makes us into something brand new – a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- Write your plans in pencil. You might have some great ideas. They might even be things you or others need. But remember that you’re not the boss (even if you’re the Sr. Pastor), Jesus is and He reserves the right to change things up. You need to be not just willing, but able to audible and change your plans to match His. (Proverbs 16:9)
- Seek out other perspectives. You don’t have to agree with someone to learn something from them, but Christians so often avoid the world and the people who are “worldly” that they frankly don’t have any clue about what ‘regular’ people struggle with. Or they’re so tied in to their style, denomination, translation, etc that rather than learn from those who are different, they dismiss them or worse, condemn them. Seek out the opinions and ideas of people who are different. (Proverbs 11:14; 24:6)
- Stop campaigning. There will always be people who think you’re nuts, just like there will always be people who think you’re amazing. Don’t waste you’re time trying to convert the haters or keep the cheering throng. When you serve Jesus first, you’re safe. It’s when you want to impress others that you’re in danger of losing it all. (Matthew 6:1-8)
So those are my thoughts. Honestly, if there were a political candidate that had the above qualities, I’d have a hard time not voting for them. In the mean time, what do you need to do to keep from becoming a Christian incumbent?