I do a weekly email for the church staff. It’s an old practice that I used to do but haven’t done and am now starting to do all over again. I always try to include a little leader nugget of the week. This was this week’s.
The 15 Nautical Mile March
For weeks we’ve talked about what the 15 nautical mile march looks like for the Christ-follower in our Everything series. I’ve been using Jim Collin’s illustration of the Scott/Amundsen race to the South Pole. Amundsen won by knocking out an average of 15 nautical miles a day, regardless of conditions. Scott played the weather. For the Christ-follower, the 15 nautical mile march looks like this – daily Bible reading (Lifeway says only 18% of Christ-followers read their bible everyday), small group experience, large group experience, serve, and give (50% don’t give, 83% at 2% or lower).
I wonder what those stats are for church staff members?
I’d like to think the best of people like us but I’ve been around too many church staffers. The ugly truth is this – church staff can be the WORST at the 15 mile march because we fool ourselves into thinking since we are on staff – we already give everything.
I remember being asked by another pastor at a conference if I believed the pastor should tithe since we are the “oxen grinding the corn?” (Duet. 25:4; 1 Timothy 5:18) I was shocked to learn there was a whole line of thought from church workers and missionaries who believed they didn’t have to give their money away because they were already working on the mission of Jesus.
[Or worse – the pastor/teacher who only studies and reads for what he is speaking about. That’s called Spiritual Bulimia. People die from that – spiritually and physically.]
For the record, I think that is just incredible selfish and short-sighted. And foolish. Giving [and all the other “disciplines”] exists to change our character. By not giving [or studying or serving or being in small group or large group] – those people are missing out on God changing their character. And eventually – that will be exposed and it could have catastrophic consequences.
We’ve all seen the stories of a pastor or a staff falling from grace – stealing money, adultery, lying, the list is long. They didn’t set out to fail. It started with not doing the 15 nautical mile march. [It started with the lie that since I’m on staff, I already give everything. Being on staff is your job, it doesn’t necessarily describes your heart.]
Take some time this week – TODAY – and evaluate yourself against these 5 foundational principles for an “Everything” life.
We can’t take the congregation where we aren’t going ourselves.