Because Satan knows that fallout is widespread when leaders crumble, he always aims his arrows at those who lead God’s church. He wins, at least temporarily, when failings –whether among laity or staff – distract the church from doing the Great Commission. Were I the enemy, here is how I would attack leaders today.
- I would attack those who are most gifted . . . by reminding them that they are gifted. Seldom does the enemy attack so blatantly that his attack is undeniable – especially when striking leaders so gifted that they think they are impenetrable to attack. Gifted leaders rarely settle for second place in anything; hence, they often refuse to believe that they can lose spiritual battles. Such subtle arrogance sets them up for defeat.
- I would encourage leaders to talk about accountability . . . but not be personally accountable to anyone. Few leaders would deny the importance of accountability, even if they themselves are accountable to no one. After all, leaders lead from their strengths – and who needs accountability for his strengths? And what leader is willing to risk his leadership by admitting his weaknesses? Accountability that is just a buzzword, though, is only a wasted word.
- I would challenge leaders to emphasize spiritual disciplines . . . but only for others. No leader would ignore these disciplines – at least for others. Ordinary church members need to develop these habits, but the enemy reminds leaders that their time and energy are required elsewhere. The result is leadership based on our own power.
- I would focus the leader’s attention on tomorrow . . . rather than today. Without question, the strongest leaders are visionary leaders. They continually dream about the “preferable future,” seeking to reach goals that propel them forward. The enemy wins, however, when leaders so focus on tomorrow that they ignore present tense dangers. Leaders fall on the way up the ladder – not on the way down.
- I would encourage ministry by e-mail . . . especially with those of the opposite gender. This strategy is the work of an enemy who is technologically savvy. Used properly, e-mail speeds communication and facilitates ministry. Used wrongly, it becomes the first step toward an affair. The seeming safety of cyberspace permits silly jesting and lighthearted flirting – all under the guise of ministry. The devil is too shrewd to miss such a wide-open door.
- I would not hinder ministry success . . . as long as “success” results in few changed lives. I am a professor of evangelism who believes that numbers are a legitimate means to measure church growth. If, though, we measure only increased numbers without asking whether (1) non-believers are being reached and (2) lives are being changed, growth alone can lull us to sleep. Success thus sets us up for all of the strategies listed above.
Where are you most vulnerable?