In any city on this globe, a young man finds his way to an altar, committing his life to Christ. His genuine salvation develops into a deep heart desire to become a servant to both God and humanity.
After a season he feels divinely directed to a wonderful bible college, he later graduates and is on his way to answer the cry of a lost and dying world. Blessed with a beautiful wife, he works his way up the ministry ranks finding himself with his own pastorate.
Courageously, he takes on all of the challenges presented to him and soon, with no one to really talk to, he is encompassed by a nagging sense of isolation and insulation. As a leader, he can’t be totally candid with anyone. He loves serving others, but people begin to see him as super human.
Our adversary is ever so cunning.
God’s man now finds himself tempted in ways he never imagined for himself, possibly even bending his knee to sin. After seeing how others have been utterly destroyed with exposed fault, he repents; he covers his sin, trusting that God’s mercy will protect him. But in time, it repeats. Before he knows it, his sin is completely out of control.
In solitude, he cries out to God vowing to never do it again. Yet, he cannot relinquish Satan’ s talon-like grip.
“How did I get here?”
“How do I get out of this trap?”
Unfortunately, this scenario has been repeated all too often, casualties strewn across the spiritual battle plain.
Recent polls have stated:
- 38 percent of ministers have admitted to having a one-time or ongoing affair since they began their ministry.
- Even more have admitted to looking at pornography via their computers at home and or at their church office.
- 77 percent of ministers surveyed admitted that they do not have a good marriage.
- 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches, never returning to the ministry.
(The above research was distilled from Barna, Focus on the Family, Fuller Seminary, Schaefer Institute, Josh McDowell, and Crosswalk.com, all of which backed up our findings and additional information from reviewing others’ research)
Unfortunately, many parishioners are left feeling wounded and destroyed because of the personal failures of those they have trusted so deeply. For the first time in recent church history, we are finding that a greater percentage of born again believers are choosing not to regularly attend church. Yes, more Christians do not currently attend church than do. This has cost the church greatly in so many ways.
Many no longer trust God’s leaders and are embittered because of their wounds. Churches are split and the finances in the church have dropped substantially.
Our very nation, which has propagated the Gospel more than any other in the history of our planet, is now in a season of complete chaos, crumbling internally. The American church is perceived as a hate group, bowing before the gods of attendance and money.
We, the church, are in great crisis.
Now is the hour to begin a difficult conversation, to tip over the “sacred cows” of religious preconception. We must stop fearing the voice of the modern-day Pharisee whose religious rhetoric sounds so ‘right’ yet leaves God’s called in pain and destruction, sacrificed across the sacred altars of salvation.
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
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