Lead, Follow – And Get Out Of The Way
You may have heard the saying, “Lead, follow OR get out of the way.” I think it’s time for us Christians embrace a new mantra, and here it is: Lead, follow AND get out of the way. I don’t write this as if I’m outside the problem. I think we pastors are part of the problem – perhaps even the epicenter. I think it’s time we became so sick about the condition of the Church (not simply the nation) that we start to lead, follow and get out of the way – out of God’s way.
Yes, it would be wonderful if we had a wise, godly man or womanelected to the presidency this year. Yes, it would be fantastic if wise, godly senators and representatives were elected as well, and if wise godly judges were appointed to the courts. But are these the places where real hope and change begin? Does real change really begin in the White House? I think it begins in God’s House – and if you really read your Bible, you’ll agree.
I think this election year we have it entirely backwards. This reversal needs to be reversed, and it needs to begin with us pastors, elders, deacons and Christian leaders.
In a very unfortunate way, many of us want the world to love a Jesus we aren’t even following. We want others to follow a Jesus we don’t truly love. This is not a small matter. It is the most serious problem facing America.
More and more, I hear pastors, Christians and Christian leaders referencing 2 Chronicles 7:14 – no doubt because we all recognize our nation is slow jamming out of control. But each time I hear this verse referenced, it is almost always misinterpreted. Nearly everyone uses it as a call to intercede for America. Intercession is good and biblical, but 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not a call for intercession. It’s a call for repentance – not among the world, but among God’s people.
If we, the leaders in the Church, aren’t discerning the times and interpreting the Bible correctly, how in the world can we expect the world to do so? No wonder we don’t have a plan of action. God, however, does.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says,
“IF my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
The word “intercession” doesn’t appear in this verse. It is an “if-then” statement – and it all has to do with a serious (re)discovery of genuine, biblical repentance. It’s a call for deep changes in mind and heart that lead to changes in behavior – among God’s people, not the world. If a saving move of God is going to happen in this nation, it must begin within the Church. Thinking otherwise is backward.
Yes, the original context of 2 Chronicles 7:14 was to the nation of Israel, not America or any other nation or people. Yes, there are limitations about how much of a one-for-one parallel we can expect today in the U.S.A. or in any other nation that is broken. But what we should not be debating is the unchanging nature of God, and that He absolutely does wait at certain times for His people to move before He does. If God is anything, He is a gentleman. He will not force Himself upon people who are not eager for His company.
America needs a big time bath, but it needs to begin with us pastors, elders, deacons and church leaders. We don’t get it – and until we do, others won’t either. We need to begin to thoroughly repent for
- Seeing each another as competitors instead of brothers and sisters;
- The spirit of control that we allow to guide both us and ministry rather than the Holy Spirit;
- Depending on our own strength instead of God’s strength;
- Being more interested in speed, size and numbers than real moves of God among our people;
- Teaching the Bible as if it has no relevance for 21st century living;
- Being fearful of being called “political” when the truth is that many politicians have hijacked theology and the issues we, Christian leaders, should have been addressing all along;
- Isolating ourselves from the world when we should be engaging it head-on, and
- The racism and division in our own churches. America is simply a reflection of what we tolerate Sunday after Sunday, and each day in between.
The only agents of change are God and us sinners working together. This divine-human partnership has always been God’s way. He has been waiting. Don’t you think we’ve kept Him waiting long enough?
TIME FOR ACTION
I am humbly calling for the people in every church throughout America to engage in a morning of humility, fasting and prayer to confess our sins and ask God for forgiveness this coming weekend. Leaders, call your people to a solemn time of repentant prayer and dependence upon God during your worship gathering. Start doing this in your church every single weekend from now on. We need an unwavering commitment in the same direction – for as long as it takes.
And don’t just pray for America. Ask God to break you, to start a real spiritual awakening in your own life. When God has answered your prayers, Plan A will be underway. Remember, there is no Plan B.
It is time for the hope and change that only God can deliver. Remember, America, there is no Plan B. Lead, follow and get out of the way.
What do you think? Should we keep God waiting any longer?