“They have eyes, and yet they don’t see.”
Many leaders don’t see the fruit that is about to manifest in those around them. All they can see is the tree. A tree can look strong, weak, ugly or handsome, but that’s just the tree. The real test is what will it put forth.
Especially in a small town, I’ve found there are three kinds of people (trees) that I have to constantly be on the lookout for in order for our church to go where God intends it to go. They are:
I didn’t want our worship leader, and yet he is still here! Several years ago when we needed a worship leader, I wanted a black dude, but God made it clear to me He had chosen this white guy. I didn’t know why God would do such a thing. He really didn’t have some gifts I thought were vital for that position.
But as I listened, God made it quite clear: Chris is the man! He sure is! Years later, he has raised up more leaders, fought more battles and won more people than I can possibly imagine any other person could have. Oh yeah, he’s a winner. I had to see him as God saw him.
These folks slide in on you before you know it. I’m not talking about Mr. and Mrs. “Critical for a Cause.” I’m talking about the ones who say and act right just enough to get some of your ear time. Then these people begin to poison and distract from God’s direction with little seeds of doubt.
They whine just enough to plant seeds but not loud enough that you would kick them to the curb. Understand, I’m not talking about those who don’t agree with you all the time but have a commitment to run with the vision. No, we need those kind of people badly.
These guys want you to reconsider so many things, and it’s generally just a couple of degrees off course. But off course is off course. Off course isn’t God’s plan. Recognize the unhealthy small voices, and “give no ear to them.” Their words are seeds, and they can produce a crop of fear and doubt.
Honestly, this is one of the most dangerous people you could ever encounter. These are sent by the enemy under a cloak of trust. Unlike the whiner, these infiltrate the ranks of leaders and influencers and sow seeds of division.
Several years ago, one of these “wicked types” slithered among us, garnished trust and then struck with precision. The fallout was hurtful, and recovery was long. Ask God to show you those among you who have ulterior motives, and, if revealed, take definitive steps to remove them from places of influence. Miss this one, and their venom could be deadly.
Artie Davis is the pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He heads the Comb Network and the Sticks Conference. He speaks and writes about leadership, ministry, church planting and cultural diversity in the church. You can find his blog at ArtieDavis.com or catch him on Twitter @artiedavis.
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