“What sin, if left unchecked, would undo you? What could potentially disqualify you from ministry and kill your future church plant?… Name that sin and talk about it with a brother sitting next to you”. Who did this pastor think he was? What kind of question was that? “Nothing,” I thought as I glanced around the room, “nothing could stop me from doing what God had called me to do”. The other church planters attending this particular seminar were thinking the exact same thing, I could tell. How naïve.
I spent the remainder of the day pondering this pastor’s words. He spoke so confidently; “he must know something we don’t”, I thought to myself as I sat quietly in my seat. No words had ever hit me quite like that – yet, it felt strangely familiar. In many ways it reminded me of being 16, that is, it felt a lot like a broken beer bottle to the side of the head (things that happen when you’re drunk and looking for fights after a punk rock show). It felt like pain.
So what was this pastor’s point? Why was it, and is it, necessary to identify a potential moral failing and to reverse engineer our lives based on that moral failing? Because we can’t kill and prevent sin that we are blind to. And why did he tell us to talk to someone about it? Because transparency and gospel friendships are essential and crucial to the health of every [Christian] leader. We must understand the weight of our own sin and have the courage to confront it. It is imperative that Christian leaders face the hard reality that we too are broken sinners in need of God’s saving grace just like everyone else. Killing sin is war and we can’t fight alone. Healthy leaders need a cadre around them willing to fight with them and for them to the glory of God.