It doesn’t take a genius to take a look around and see churches falling apart from the inside out. Nor does it take long to find a prominent pastor that has fallen due to a moral failure. But what I have found interesting is not the present conditions of these examples but the past states of these same examples.
I have had the pleasure to work with many churches both directly and indirectly. Many of these churches were going through a transition period in which if they did not make needed changes they were going to have to shut the doors. But here is what caught me by surprise. In almost every occasion you could look back at the church’s history and see a time when the place was packed out……for all practical means the church was successful
I have known and followed many a pastor that has fallen due to a moral failure. And these guys were not some creepy types that you never felt right about. In actuality most of the guys I knew were guys that appeared to be anointed men of God that were doing great things for the kingdom.
My point is, success plays a huge role in failure. We think of failures as being a part of success because we have to fail numerous times before we succeed but once we succeed the very success that we have achieved, if not placed in the correct context, will lead to our demise.
Churches that are reaching and growing and consider themselves successful fall into a trap. It is a trap of satisfaction. They get to a point put it in cruise and think they are set for the lifetime of their church. WRONG. They have measured their success and found it satisfactory and so they stop TRYING. When everything is going right why change it?. Because change is life without it there is only death. Soon after the trap of satisfaction churches find themselves plateauing and then declining and by that time no one in the church is able to recognize the real problem. Think about Israel how many times were they delivered only to fall again and repeat the cycle. When they were in turmoil they turned to God but when they found stability they were satisfied.
Pastors who find success fall into the trap of pride. Much like Tiger Woods, many pastors come to believe that they are above the rules, that they are untouchable. They allow the boundaries to drop then the downward spiral begins. Sometimes it is over years other times over weeks whatever the case eventually they fall. All because they got a big head and stopped being careful. David is a great example, he didn’t guard his eyes and then decided he was powerful and important enough to have whatever he wanted. It was his most shameful moment.
The moral of the story is that we have to be very watchful at all times. We try so hard when times are tough just to make it. We encourage ourselves that better days are ahead but we have to take the same position when things are going well. Failure is so close and it is a lot harder to rise from failure than to fall from success.