Rodney King once asked, “why can’t we all just get along?” I am asking another question; Have you thought about the devastating price we are paying because Pastors do not get along? More than drugs, atheism, the liberal press, or any other social ill, the number one reason more souls are not saved, is because cities are cut up like gang turf, and churches refuse to get together, and preach the Gospel to their city.
The truth gets even more ominous. Here in America our Christian birth rate has fallen to a dangerous tipping point. The number of people we are converting to Christ today does not match the number that are dying off. In simple terms, our influence in America is dropping because there are less and less of us.
I wish I had better news but it just gets worse: stress is taking out a record number of pastors. Mark Clement of the Big Picture Media Group said, “Surveys consistently place the number of ministers leaving ministry every month in America between 1,500 and 1,800. That’s over 20,000 per year or one about every 2-3 hours.”
There is a hero in the Bible that we need today. We need Barnabas. Yes, I deliberately misspelled his name in the title of this blog.
As a Christian, you feel Barnabas’ gift every day. He gave you a complete Bible, you have a rich tradition of 2,000 years of Christianity. You see when Saul of Tarsus was converted the leaders in Jerusalem didn’t believe it. Saul had imprisoned family members. Deep scars kept the church from assimilating this key new weapon into the Kingdom of God.
Acts 9:26-28 “And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out.”
Barnabas put his considerable reputation on the line to bring Paul into the fold. Without this courageous and unselfish risk we would have ended up with two Bibles and a gaping division between a Jewish Christian sect and a gentile church.
Here are two things that Barnabas’ life would say to us today:
1. Use popularity to advance truth. Fame, and a good reputation is a God given line of credit that God wants invested in to restoring fallen soldiers, forcing dialogue on divisive issues, and assimilating new weapons into the Body of Christ.
There is a sickness among our preachers. Once fame or popularity is achieved, their goal becomes to sustain that popularity by avoiding all controversy. We see this everyday in sermons that sound like fortune cookie platitudes. Jesus said, “He who seeks to save his life will lose it, be he who loses his life for my sake shall find it.” This applies to fame. If God gave you promotion and you derail its purpose by trying protect it, you will lose your promotion. On the other hand, if you faithfully impart truth you will enjoy continual increase.
Ask yourself: Did I distance myself from a brother who fell and is trying to get back up? Do I refuse to champion gifts that I know are of God, because they are exotic and controversial? On the other hand, have I given into having meetings that are emotional binges because I can control people?
2. Do not care about who gets the credit for revival or breakthroughs. Pastor or not, be the one in your city who reaches out with a pure heart to see all of the Body of Christ joined in a righteous cause of winning souls. It will take courage, and sadly you will take abuse and see how really sick leadership is today. It does not matter who gets the credit, or if only a few join you. It is worth every drop of abuse because I know of nothing that would throw the devil under the bus more immediately, that God bless more greatly, and is more urgent in saving America.
If you are in the Bay Area please join Mechelle and I tonight for an explosive time in worship, wonders, and the word of God. Dream House tonight May 25 7:15PM. We are located at 1015 Estudillo Street Martinez CA 94553. Call us at 925 300 3007.