“Beware the people who meet you at the airport.”
I’m not sure where we first heard this phrase in our ministry lives, but that advice from others who have walked the ministry leadership road before us has given my husband and me pause over the years. The premise of this statement is that the people who first meet you when you are visiting a church that is considering you as their pastor are usually the ones who are most invested in the ministry. These are also most likely the ones who have the greatest desire to influence the church, and thus you, as the possible new leaders of the church.
There is no question that as humans we all desire to exert influence over one another. This is not always a bad thing. For example, parents exert their authority over their children to influence their behavior and character. These are God-given rights and responsibilities. The desire to bring about positive change in another through friendship or counseling or medical help—all of those things can be good, too.
So, why is it that so much power and influence in the church end up having negative effects?
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