Inside Thoughts

An Open Letter To Church Leaders

I know that ‘thanks’ is not the reason why you started this. You usually  dance to an audience of One. But I want to say thank you anyway. Only 10-20% of Christians are truly called to the Church, to equip the Saints to increase the Kingdom of God on the earth. As part of the remaining 80-90% percent who have the luxury of being ‘Saints’, I want to thank you.

Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Teacher, or Pastor. You, our beloved church leaders are the Greatest Servants of all.

Thank you for saying Yes to the call of God to dedicate yourself, your life, and that of your families into to the building up and equipping of the Saints of God. On behalf of the congregation from all around the world, I want to thank you.

 

Thank you for your time.

Some may think it looks glamorous from the outside. However, having insight from the inside, as the wife of a powerful Church leader, I know it is a life of great dedication and sacrifice. I have no doubt that you put in 60 hours or more a week and overtime is not a relevant concept in the ministry. I see the tens of thousands of hours many of you spend away from home, flying, preaching or teaching. Hotel rooms away from family can be cold and lonely. I see the many nights which you sacrifice away from your family to make meetings, small groups, discipleship groups or preaching commitments. I see the tens of thousands of hours you spend preparing at home, learning, writing and reading so that you can make revelations tangible and able to be articulated and understood. I see the times you have sacrificed for those late night callouts to pray, to minister and do everything in between. You never complain and people always come first. Thank you.

 

Thank you for giving God your finances.

You are some of the most brilliant minds out there. Many of you could have had highly affluent careers and businesses. However, you have chosen to trust God with your finances and dedicate your life and that of your families to the church. Despite having a generally modest financial income, many of you are the most generous people I know. For dedicating your life means dedicating your finances to God and I have seen firsthand, lives of utter generosity from leaders in the church. Thank you.

 

Thank you for your Vision.

Unfortunately, the church can sometimes be messy. Church politics can become soul destroying and yet you continue to persevere. You have a vision of a spotless Bride. You believe if you can empower the Saints to transcend culture you can change a nation. You have so much vision for the church that you have chosen to give your life to it. Thank you.

 

Thank you for your Love.

Church is a family. Family gets messy. It has no professional boundaries. It demands time, energy, and patience. Sometimes family members can be lame. I know! I’m one of them. Seriously we can be even more annoying than unbelievers sometimes. Expectations are often misguided. Yet you look beyond this. Thank you for seeing people through the eyes of our devoted, doting Father. Thank you for loving us enough to teach us. Thank you for loving us enough to correct us. Thank you for loving us enough to dedicate your life’s work to us. Thank you for loving us when it gets messy, when we are at our worst when we are insight-less and thankless. You commit to us anyway. Thank you.

 

To the family of church leaders.

You are equally heroic and your sacrifice is just as great. One never leads alone. It is never a one man or woman show. With every great leader is an equally great spouse and we recognise and thank you too. Moreover we want to thank the children of church leaders. You selflessly share your parents with the entire congregation. Moreover, you cope graciously with unrealistic expectations and unwarranted attention. There can be unnecessary pressure upon you. I want to recognise and honour you as well. Thank you.

 

For Hurting Church leaders

Church leaders, may I speak from my heart? Will you allow me space to speak into your life? Some of you may be hurting. For the reality is, many (all) churches are not perfect. Structures of modern churches too often have a consumer culture where spiritual responsibility for the entire congregation is transferred on the Leaders. In this incorrect paradigm you may have been unwittingly misused and shouldered responsibility beyond what you are graced for. Subsequently, you and your family may have burned out. You may have left with a bitter taste in your mouth. Perhaps it has affected your relationship with God and others. Please beloved, would you forgive us?

 

Some of you may have “fallen” into sin.

Your sins have been made public and the deepest secrets of your heart and life made known by all. You and your family may have suffered shame and guilt. Perhaps instead of extending grace and mercy you may have been shunned, ex-communicated and abandoned. In churches we have a scary habit of shooting our own wounded. We often suffer more from friendly fire then from enemy fire. Please, please beloved leaders would you forgive us?

You have not had the luxury of private restoration.

Some of you have become disenchanted along the way. Perhaps in our quest to become “relevant” some churches have become more of a show than a family. Church leaders unwittingly become more like employees with pressure to put on a ‘good show.’ We stare at you with gaping mouths thinking of Sunday as more of a production than a place to celebrate and love each other with all our quirks and imperfections. This may have placed unnecessary pressure on you to “perform”. To put on a front. Your vibrant and individual personality may have been dampened and snuffed out. Please our beloved church leaders, will you forgive us?

Some of you are dreadfully lonely. In some churches we have created a culture where leaders are isolated and disconnected. Transparency and intimacy for leaders may not have been taught or celebrated. In fact, some statistics show that 90 percent of church leaders do not have even one close friend. If this is you, it’s not the way it is supposed to be. You are family and you are not alone.

 

You are the great ones

To every person leading in the church right now:

“You rule with the heart of a servant and serve with the heart of a King.” – Bill Johnson

We are grateful to you. We thank you. May the wind of praise from your congregations be upon your back as you dedicate your lives to the vision of a Spotless Bride and the building up of the Saints. You will empower your Family who will transcend culture and bring hope to the nation.

To every church leader who has been hurt or broken in our imperfect church structure. My heart breaks for you. Truly. I weep as I write this. I lie awake at night thinking about you. Please forgive us. We know not what we do.

I beg you, do not isolate yourself. Resist the urge to run from God and run from people. Most of all do not let an ounce of offence take hold in your heart. I beg you.

Offence will rob you from your destiny. For your destiny is always people” – Shawn Bolz

I pray that our loving Father gives you a fresh revelation of His undying love and His opulent kindness. I pray you find friends, connection and family. I pray you find healing and restoration for your souls.

Church leaders all over the world, you are deeply loved and richly cherished. Thank you.

 

Christine Greenwood

The Healthy Hiccup

10 thoughts on “An Open Letter To Church Leaders

  1. Chriss Flatt says:

    😭 thank you sweet sister. I think us leaders need to read letters like this, often. xx

  2. Dan Allen says:

    Wow. Thank you Christine. This is beautiful. Thank you for your compassion, kindness & understanding. You get it. You really are wise. Love you dear sister!

    1. Christine says:

      Wow… Thank you deeply Dan. Love you guys.

  3. Ana says:

    Wooah!!! Powerful beloved x

    1. Christine says:

      My love! Thank you…

  4. Peter Flatt says:

    That is a brilliant take on what happens in churches – they’re not perfect (like everything else in this age) but it is where Father God has invested Himself !!

    Church members do really need to grow up & be more like Jesus !

    1. Christine says:

      Thank you so much Peter. Agreed!

  5. Joy Williams says:

    Words of wisdom Christine – thank YOU x

    1. Christine says:

      Thank you Auntie Joy! Love you…

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