After the tragic recent death of Pastor Zachery Tims, it was placed on my heart to share a few words proactively with anyone who desires to serve God in a leadership capacity.
Many who read this may ask who am I to give anyone any advice in an arena to which I have not one iota of experience?
Well my answer is that I am not qualified by man’s standards or validated by any of his schools of higher theological learning but what I have to say is based in the loving heart of one who desires only the best for my Sisters and Brothers and believe I have a unique perspective that possibly many others may possess at this point after witnessing so many of our spiritual leaders fall by the wayside to the temptations of the world unnecessarily.
But first I must make a point in saying that this article is not one that was meant to throw off any bad will or insinuate anything negative about the late Pastor Zachery Tims. But I will admit that this writing was spawned by the recent tragedy but nothing more than that as I am painting my feelings with a broad strokes and generalizations.
The people of the world who seek the word of God to guide their lives and attend regular fellowship with their Sisters and Brothers in order to achieve a deeper relationship with God are hurting right about now as many of their spiritual shepherds both large and small, known and unknown, have been falling into scandal after scandal much to the amusement of those who do not believe in a higher power or rather those who feel that modern day Christianity and the institution of religion overall is nothing more than a game, a sham and a scam.
Their faith as Christians is really being tested these days as they have to deal with the public ridicule and derogatory statements made by those insensitive people who just couldn’t wait for something bad to happen to a religious leader in order to justify why they do not regularly attend any religious functions or participate in anything that has any connection to organized worship. “They are all money hungry pimps who, if they are not womanizing, are doing drugs or messing around on the down-low!” These are the things that Christians have to hear who have lived a dedicated and committed life to following the example of Jesus Christ.
What makes it more tragic is that it stabs deeper and even more painful when these particular allegations turn out to be the truth!
While the dyed in the wool “soldiers in the army of the Lord” may possess a staunchy faith that is unwavering to any external storm that may be transpiring around them in the church and media, what about those who are relatively “young in the faith” and who may be subject to walking on shaky unstable spiritual legs and may be affected by their spiritual guideposts once they are revealed to be fraudulent?
It is those who my heart goes out to even more so because many of them because of the scandals will turn away from God because they may not have the understanding that even the chosen women and men of God are human and have weaknesses just like you and I.
So another aspect that I would like to impart to the readers of this article is that you must always remember that Satan comes to kill and destroy. This is serious business and not some little child’s game where everyone is running around in the backyard trying to avoid the man who is “it” who is wearing a red suit with cute little horns on his head.
The devil is real and is very organized in his attack with his legions of demons who were former angels that left Heaven with him after he was kicked out of Heaven! Now if Satan was second in command behind God Himself, then this is to tell you how powerful and influential an entity he truly is! So while God will ALWAYS have power over Satan, we as the weak vessels that we are are NOT equipped on our own to battle any devil, demon or negative force and expect to even having a remote chance at winning! The only chance we have to survive the attacks on our lives by the negative forces of the universe is to remain well protected and hidden in the bosom of our Lord! There is no other way!
You know it’s a funny phenomenon, but we as humans seem to he more cognizant as to the dangers that our material possessions may be at risk for as opposed to how we expose our souls to eternal hell and damnation by the foolishness that we refuse to cease indulging in because Satan himself has convinced us that the evil that we do is fair seeming and not as bad as it is cut out to be.
Once one begins to think in this manner it is only just a matter of time as it is actually the beginning of the end for that particular person and they don’t even realize it!
So understand that if YOU as a person who may be striving to improve how the Almighty views your life and YOU have a tough time with all of the temptations to stray off of the righteous path, then imagine what a person who is in a highly visible spiritual leadership position has to go through as far as attacks go?
For Satan, to come after that highly influential spiritual leader…….the pastors, the bishops, the deacons and so on…..means that he gets a better deal because if he can bring down a person who is a spiritual guide and leader in front of the eyes of the world, then he will indirectly discourage so many others whose faith may not be as strong at the point of the scandal.
Makes sense doesn’t it? Of course it does! Don’t you like a “buy one get two free” deal at your local supermarket? Well depending on the reach of that Pastor, if brought down in disgrace hard enough, he gets a “disgrace one discourage thousands free” deal in the usually unseen spiritual warfare diaspora!
This is the goal when a scandal hits the church! But if the truth be told there are things that we all must do to keep our righteous ships sailing smoothly and running tight since we know that the storms that we will be sailing through will definitely be some rough waters! Especially today in these end times when the intensity to snatched souls has increased as the time for the negative forces to “get all that they can get” draws near!
This time period in history is not to be overlooked or taken lightly but unfortunately most people do not understand the seriousness of it nor have they comprehended the consequences of it as they appear to be sleepwalking at a time of outright war!
This goes for many of our spiritual leaders who have become too lax as the people who are designated to keep the fires of enthusiasm under the butts of the believers!
So please trust that right now there are so many distractions thrown at us that we can get overly passionate about that will take us away from focusing on the covert deeds that are being manifested right under our divine radar!
The Casey Anthony trial, the Bishop Eddie Long scandal, the fear mongering in the news over the economy, the well publicized terrorist threats, as well as a long list of never ending “stories” that are “amped” up to keep you caught up in “what will happen next” when as soon as one saga ends then here comes another. CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews and Headline News has become the new narcotic of choice and we don’t even realize it.
So Pastors!…….the people are depending on you to inspire them and to be a reflection of Gods attributes when times are tough so that they can draw strength from a guidance that you share that is supposed to be inspired by God Himself! You are there for a spiritual “jump start!” Pastor! Your flock knows that you too are human and most likely will fall into a more devious and vicious form of satanic attack due to the fact that so many will lose their drive if you fall into blatant sin because like that little child who couldn’t take care of themselves until they were mature enough to do so, your congregation is depending on you until they are mature enough in the spirit so that even if you fell into sin after their maturity they would be strong enough to raise YOU back up!
So understand that our pastors can take a lickin’ but they probably will need our love, support and the execution of the wisdom gained in fellowship to keep on tickin’!!!!
That being said, the number one action that I would insist on all future potential spiritual leaders and current men and women of God to continually do is to check their personal ships for any harmful cracks before being put out in the torrential waters of leadership.
Have you ever noticed how right before a spaceship gets launched, it goes through a tedious set of checks in order to ensure that there is nothing potentially wrong with the functionality of the ship because to overlook even the slightest detail would surely cause a major disaster in that particular launch. Not only that, but a mechanical or structural failure would make the entire crew appear inept and incapable of the highest levels of excellence in front of the entire world stage! It would be an embarrassment to the country!
So what do I mean by this in the context of being a righteous leader?
Well if you KNOW that you have a weakness in a particular area of your personal life then you need to work on it and strengthen it before accepting and taking on any position where you are trusted to be over anyone’s private life as a trusted spiritual leader!
To avoid doing this would surely bring a catastrophe to ones ministry as well as being another strong reason for a non believer to publicly ridicule and blaspheme those who are sincerely trying to worship God and honor Him with a clean and edifying life.
So if you “ain’t” strong enough in your personal life then don’t even think about taking on that promotion in God’s house! You will do MORE HARM than good in the long run because you will surely be relentlessly targeted by Satan in that one particular weak area of your life!
How are going to counsel that couple who just joined your church on their marital difficulties when you as a man have a weakness for women then find out that the very woman that you are giving advice to with her husband is the “freak of the week” and is covertly throwing you “the eye of approval” so strong that you begin to desire to sample her “goods?”
If you haven’t brought that area of your life under subjection then that situation is nothing but a future scandal just waiting to happen because it will be just a matter of time before she desires a more intimate one on one counseling session with you where she will definitely want you to lay hands on her!
This happens TOO many times in the gospel realm and just imagine how much is going on that we DON’T hear about? So as a congregation we need to be responsible for being alert and not being afraid to approach the church hierarchy in the proper and decent manner if we feel that we have observed something that was executed in a inappropriate manner.
It IS your duty to step forward to keep your leaders in check instead of taking that same energy and sharing what you felt you saw in the church parking lot after the service which is a deadly and destructive course of action to take in itself!
You will then become part of the problem by fanning the flames of a scandal that could have been stopped before it started as well as helping to bring order in a place that was built and set up to save souls and not become your personal social club hang out!
Another point that I must bring up before bringing this particular blog to a close is that we as the congregation will sometimes throw away our leaders to quickly when it has been proven that their has been an indiscretion committed.
Now, I am not stating that this particular leader should continue in his or her position without some form of stepping down and subsequently getting some help to repair the “cracks” in their personal ships, I am not suggesting that. What I am saying is that in this thing called spiritual warfare, those pastors who are truly on the front-lines as a soldier in the army of the Lord will oftentimes be the first to catch a bullet because of who they are and the positioning that they possess.
Now if this leader was “jivin” with their position and outright abusing it in a predatory fashion like our well publicized Bishop from Lithonia Georgia was doing, then there is no coming back from that!
Step down and serve your God on a personal level but never allow that type of spirit into such a powerful leadership position again!
But if this fallen theoretical pastor truly took a fall while being engaged in the battle to win souls then I would say for him/her to step down while we put you indefinitely in the repair shop to run tests to see where the malfunction originated so that it won’t ever happen again once your responsibilities to lead are gradually restored under the watchful eyes of the internal structures of the clergy who are there for that purpose alone!
You watch the NASCAR races and always see a pit stop there that is there to quickly bring that highly tuned vehicle back to top form in order for it to get back to the business at hand of the race.
The problem in our churches is that our “pit stops” are not working as efficiently as they should in our churches and we tend to throw our leaders away who may just need some help in the same manner and spirit that they have helped so many before. You do not junk a perfect good vehicle merely because it has a flat tire that needs to be repaired, the same goes for our leaders who haven’t indulged in an activity so bad that we just need to go one and write them off! They too are only human.
Our pastors are the righteous tools of God. When you are finished using your garden tools to make your yard so nice and pretty it has fulfilled the purpose to which they where purchased in the first place for!
You just don’t throw away those precious tools because they have accumulated some dirt on them after doing such a wonderful job in helping you to get your yard looking pristine and well groomed. You hose them down clean and get them ready for the next time that you will surely need to use them! Remember, even the tools that were not even used might get some dirt on them too so don’t believe everything that you hear after the service in the church parking lot gossip sessions!
So pastors, bishops, deacons and members of all congregations who are in the sound of my voice or who just might have stumbled across this blog posting of mine, understand that no matter what your positioning or status is within the hierarchy, we all have a job that needs to be done as well as us being on the same team.
We truly need to understand this, absorb it and internalize it! Do not become that “crack” that allows the water to enter the ship and eventually sinking it.
Use understanding in all that you do and always maintain an open communication so that a righteous healing can transpire in our spiritual pit stops because in this tough and challenging race called life, there are just too many nails on the track that can puncture our tires to keep us from making it across the finish line of eternal salvation.
We all can and should be winners as long as we are pledged to be our brothers and sisters keeper!
In this thing called spiritual warfare, we should never forget that aside from the mighty loving God above, all we’ve got is us!