When the church is struggling, the temptation for the leaders is to point the finger. It can be easy for leaders to exhort the congregation, point out their faults, and bemoan their stubbornness and their reservations.
Instead, those of us in leadership must take the blame.
A church stands or falls on the strength of its leadership.
When a church is struggling, the temptation for the leaders is to point the finger. It can be easy for leaders to exhort the congregation, point out their faults, and bemoan their stubbornness and their reservations. The natural thing for leaders to do is to bring ministry pointing out people’s failures, exposing their weakness and calling people back into line. This can be needed and in many cases is right – certainly Paul the Apostle did this in many of his letters to the churches.
We mustn’t forget though, the power of the sacrificial Lamb. Jesus, fully God and fully man, did what every man should do and took responsibility. His whole life on earth was him taking responsibility – responsibility for His children, His sheep, His lost ones.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
And with his stripes we are healed.
He poured out his soul to death
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet he bore the sin of many,
And makes intercession for the transgressors.
That’s the Lamb of God taking responsibility. Our beautiful, holy King, enthroned on high above all the earth, Lord of the angel armies, Son of the most High God, stooping down, washing his disciples’ feet, pouring out his soul to death, allowing himself to be spat on and mocked and crucified – dying as a sacrifice for sin in our place. In our place. And so, the heavenly principle of taking responsibility passes from Jesus Christ to His blood-washed church.
The leaders of the blood-washed church must take responsibility for the people in their care. Christ “made intercession for the transgressors” and intercession by definition means “the action of intervening on behalf of another”.
When the church is tired or dying, leaders, to your knees.
When the church loves sin more than salvation, leaders, to your knees.
When the church is blinded and lost, leaders, to your knees.
Take the burden, take the blame, become a lamb, become a sacrifice, cry to God.
Woe is me! For I am lost,
For I am a man of unclean lips
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!
Don’t point the finger, don’t wish people were more like you. Take the blame. Intercede for the people. Cry out to the Lord for restoration. Love the brotherhood. See the good in the people God has given to us.
That’s the heart of the Shepherd.
Take the blame.