Last week, Debbie and I were blessed to attend a conference called Replenish, hosted by the North American Mission Board. We have attended similar conferences before and have always enjoyed the time of worship, encouragement and refocusing on the call of God on our lives.
However, we noticed that something was different with this conference. And as we processed the sessions of teaching, we realized that none of the speakers were pastors of large churches or had authored best-selling Christian books. In fact, you would probably have never heard of their names. But the content of their talks was life giving and real. Filled with, “in the trenches” stories of real life and ministry in a small to medium church environment. This is something I was longing for in our age of celebrity Christianity.
The Apostle Paul made a similar point to the church in Corinth, when he wrote, “So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, all you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s”, 1 Corinthians 3:21-23.
Apparently at that time in the early church, there was division between groups of people who had been baptized by different church leaders. The church members were prideful in their association with the leader who had baptized them and this was causing painful disunity in the Body of Christ. The root concern is people who follow man rather than following the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. And sadly, this still occurs today, and even on a greater scale than the first century church.
The greatest tragedy in following man is that everyone is a sinner saved by grace and flawed. The more we set our eyes on a fallible leader, the more likely we are to be disappointed by them in the future.
Most of you have heard about the challenges that Forerunner Church and IHOP are facing currently. My goal is not to make any judgment since we don’t know the outcome of the investigation.
In a situation like this, we are often tempted to point fingers and jump to conclusions, maybe even posting our opinions of the church on social media. I would suggest that we refrain from any such activity, as it will produce no life-giving fruit.
In preceding verses of 1 Corinthians 3 we read, “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God,” 1 Corinthians 3:18-19.
I would suggest that the wisdom we need to apply is to grieve with those who grieve, love them and care for them as we are invited to do so. Most of all, we should be praying for the church, praying that the Body of Christ in South Kansas City will become known for proclaiming and demonstrating the hope of the Gospel. And as a church we would always set our eyes on Jesus as we are encouraged to do in Hebrews 12:2.