By Rev. Glenn Martin
One of the consequences of declining churches is that we are failing to reach and instill spiritual integrity in local and national leadership. Corporate institutions choose well educated, experienced and “intellectual” persons for top leadership. Universities chosen, scholarship attained and early successes in life propel the elite into positions for which they are not prepared and cannot serve. One bishop of the church reported that eight of his pastors had lost their credentials in a two year time period; five of them were persons to whom he referred as having too much early success and being promoted beyond their real capacities.
Such appointments continue to be made because of a declining number answering the call to preach and due to inadequate seminaries with limited connection to rural and small town America where the church once flourished.
The church and corporate America have paralleled each other in worship of the brain god. We have assumed education and intelligence to be the answer to everything. We talk about the cutting edge while wielding a dull knife. We have relied on staying ahead with bombs and military and moon shots and technologies that get us into crises from which we cannot retreat.
Communications gadgets have exploded, and now we listen to menus and recorded voices. Computers can contain or access us to libraries of information but cannot enable corporate executives to balance the books. Neither can they prevent CEOs from running their institutions into the ground while walking away with much wealth. Jesus said, “Thieves break through and steal.”
The church remains the best hope of earth to instill honesty and integrity into the hearts of persons at all levels of intelligence. We must serve and obey one who could say, “I am truth.” His way is the way of wisdom, of seeing through the eyes of God. Bobby Bowden, the long time coach at Florida State said, “Reputation is what people say about you. Character is what God knows about you.”
Our lack of Christian character in corporate, government and church leadership is a product of the brain god persuading us that we are smart and superior. He persuades us to function out of our own decisiveness rather than seeking divine truth and guidance. “Claiming to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:22)
Every child of the church and home should be taught by word and example the principle taught by Jesus’ words, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) Failure of leadership at any level is a reflection on those responsible for teaching and preaching the word of God. The secular culture does not produce Christian character, but honors the brain god of “smart” and “superior.” Real Christians honor the God who calls us to humility and service.
Bishop Larry Goodpaster said in our Adult Bible Studies, “Our identity and our security is in God and God alone.”
Martin is a retired elder in the Mississippi Conference and a regular contributor to the Advocate.