X3Church: Sobriety Is Leading By Example

here’s a post i originally wrote last month for xxxchurch.com. be sure to head over there to check out some other great posts from pastors willing to open up on this pervasive issue.

It might be because I work with teenagers, but somewhere along the way I learned how to make farting noises with my hands.  The underarm method is way too obvious in many situations, and this alternative way is perfect for long staff meetings, boring church services, and awkward elevator rides.  What’s even funnier though is watching my 2 year old daughter trying to do it.  Everything her dad does right now, she tries to imitate. Whether I realize it or not, I’m leading by example.

As pastors, we all know the haunting and chilling truth that our leadership rises and falls on the example we set for those in our church. In fact, if your people are reading and living the Scriptures in Hebrews 13:7, they are told to examine your life and live like you – to imitate your choices and behaviors and follow your example. The overwhelming pressure that this verse puts on us as pastors is one that others simply cannot fully understand until they stand in our shoes.    And that’s why sobriety from pornography is so important as a pastor. 

There’s a good chance the example you’ve left for your church in regards to this issue is not one of perfection.  And that’s actually a good thing… nobody can relate to someone who’s perfect.  Maybe you’ve been caught and have lost your ability to lead.  Or maybe you’re in the process of restoration and rebuilding trust.  Maybe nobody knows…

What if the example you led by was not one of perfection… or of silence… or of failure… but what if it was one of transparency, vulnerability, and honesty? What if you left a clear path for others to follow in terms of…

  • how to come clean?
  • how to invite accountability?
  • how to build action steps to protect yourself when temptation comes?
  • how to keep yourself from relapsing?

Take heart!  You have an opportunity like few others to lead by example.  The idea of taking your limping brothers by the hand and leading them on the path to freedom – because you know the path well – is a powerful and honorable calling! Whether we realize it or not, we are leading by example. The question is, are we content with our people following it?

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Loved But Not Entitled

this prayer has been stirring in my heart for the last few weeks, but until now i have not been able to quite articulate it.

Dear God,

Help me teach our students that they are LOVED, but not ENTITLED.

That the value you’ve placed on their existence is far greater than they could ever imagine or will ever be told by another human being…

and yet,

that they are not above anything or anyone, and that they’re not free from the responsibility you’ve placed on their shoulders.