This bit of insight comes from Andy Stanley’s book Deep & Wide. It’s a book written to church leaders about church leadership. He basically shares how they “do church” at Northpoint Community. While I loved it, I wouldn’t be surprised if some folks were a little uncomfortable with his approach.
Andy is a very thorough and detailed leader. For example, he thinks through every aspect of a worship service and plans out each element for maximum effectiveness. Some church folk would probably say his approach is too detailed. Worship is supposed to be informal, spontaneous and “Spirit-led” (church speak for “we really didn’t make a plan.”)
The reality is someone has to think through the details. Someone has to make a plan and someone has to lead. Andy points to the apostle Paul as an example of this type of leader. He worked hard to build up the church. He diligently planned, boldly led and equipped others to do the same. Then Andy writes this…
Once after I taught on this subject, a pastor in the audience raised his hand and asked, “Andy, if God wanted the church led by leaders the way you define leadership, why did Jesus chose uneducated fisherman, tax collectors, and blue-collar types to lead the early church? Why didn’t he choose educated and sophisticated types like the Pharisees?”
I smiled and said, “Actually he did choose a Pharisee. And that Pharisee did the lion’s share of the work. In exchange, he got to write most of the New Testament.”
Ever think about that?
As a matter of fact…No. I’d never thought about that. And as a former Pharisee myself, I find it incredibly encouraging. I hear church leaders talk about how just need to pray and trust God to do the rest. Wait on the Lord. I get what they’re saying but there’s always a part of me that wants to ask “and what if God is waiting on us?”
I love doing. I love details. I love planning. I love making sure everything’s done with excellence. I’m of the opinion it takes hard work to be a “Spirit-led” church. And if I sound like a Pharisee there, it’s because I still have those tendencies. But there’s still a place for me in the Kingdom. God can use my gifts in the same way he used the gifts of a zealous legalist who taught me more about grace than anyone else.
“Actually he did choose a Pharisee.” What a powerful thought.