I love God’s church. I love His people joined together in song, service, and truth. I am giving my life to serve her. But I know she is not without faults. In my 20 years of serving the local church, I have seen some very sad things. Straight up bad things. Of the bad things I have witnessed, the ugliest has been the local pastor as king.
This is not just found in one corner of Christendom. It is not even limited to the church. Every organization that has structure can easily be formed into a kingdom. A government, a workplace, the AV closet in high school… you name it. If someone has authority they can abuse it.
But seeing authority abused in the church is hard because it is often done in God’s name. And the people hurt by these mini-tyrants can be wounded for a lifetime.
This last week, I came across a sermon that shook me. The preacher was someone who had been born and bred in an environment that thrives on bullying. He himself had been a king. This man stood before his church and said words I have never heard in those hallways. Apology. Repentance. A declaration of wrongdoing.
I share this sermon not because the speaker is without fault in the world. Even the sermon has talking points I don’t jive with a hundred percent. But the heart of the thing struck me so true.
So, if you have been hurt by a pastor-king. If authority in God’s church ran you over for the win. If you have seen good people beaten into submission by the “man of God” in charge. Then this word might bring some healing. I know it did for me.
I’ll end with this. I am a pastor. I shepherd God’s people on the daily. But I am no king. I don’t want to build something that points to my strength. I want to preach Jesus in my generation, die, and be forgotten. I want to point to Christ with all the breath that is in me. I want to be a servant in His Kingdom, not some false ruler in my own.