“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV)
I mentioned last week that I would send out a brief synopsis of each chapter of the book, “Hurdling Barriers.” The book deals with barriers to being a healthy church. This first chapter in the book deals with a serious problem of self-glorification, which is stealing the glory from God. This sneaks into churches without notice, and is, in my opinion, the number one barrier to having a healthy church.
When I lived in Savannah, GA, prior to God calling me into the pastoral ministry, I ran a small engineering machine design company. While there, I met an inventor and worked on one of his ideas. One day he showed me a novelty idea he had to sell at a Christian book store. He called it “The Right-Angle Glory Shifter.” I do not believe he ever took the idea forward. However, the principle was interesting. It essentially was half a periscope, a tube with one 45-degree angled mirror at the bottom and open at the top, so that w When you looked into the tube straight ahead, you would see the heavens above. The point was that rather than looking at the mirror and seeing yourself or others, you would be looking to the heavens. When you started to think too highly of yourself, you were to look into the tube and reflect on the one from whom all blessings flow and give glory to God. I believe that many churches should use” The Right-Angle Glory Shifter” because, due to pride, self-glorification subtly seeps in and becomes a significant barrier to church health.
Self-glorification is the number one barrier to church health, and most churches do not even recognize this danger. . .
What is the likely first question discussed when several church leaders get together? How many people do you have? . . . I cannot tell you how many times I have seen pastors boasting about the numbers of seats filled on Sunday morning, or the numbers of baptisms, drawing attention to themselves and not to the Lord who provided the increase. . . This type of boasting is no good.
How do you identify the problem? . . . This most subtle deception is evident in the statement, “Look what we did,” or “Look what I did?” We may not say it, but often it is the attitude of our hearts. It is this prideful attitude of the leadership that will permeate the church, and become a huge barrier to church health. I know this from personal experience as I have struggled with this during my call to pastor.
In this chapter I discuss some of the practical examples of how this problem enters the church, sometimes unknowingly. I also have included some examination questions to determine the height of the barrier, along with some action steps.
Next week I will discuss Chapter 2, Hurdling the barrier of self-sufficiency.