Self-Serving Leadership: The Platform is Not Your Throne

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Thanks to Joel Klampert for sharing these thoughts with TWC today.

I recently watched a worship experience video with Brian Doerksen called Level Ground. What I loved about the video was not the music actually. It was that the entire service/event had the band and leaders on the floor with the congregants. The stage was empty. No body was raised higher than another and everybody was pointed towards the same place.

There was only one person that was lifted up that day. Only one being who could claim the glory. That person was God alone. Brian says in his lyrics “none of us are worthy on our own.”

Up On The Pedestal?

It seems over the years that I have been in ministry I have seen an ebb and flow in that dynamic. I find the higher the stage gets the more separated and disconnected leaders get. This is not always their doing. Congregants love to take their leaders and put them at a higher level. They are perfect, know best, and infallible.

This inevitably sets leaders up for a hard fail, an affair, frustration, bitterness, and other things. They constantly have to be aware of how others are seeing them and live up to that standard. Sadly they are not perfect regardless of what some may think. Many leaders are forced to put on their mask or jump into the phone booth before a service and change into their super hero costume to make sure no one sees their secret identity.

Me, Myself and Me?

Another dynamic I have seen is leaders who truly believe they are greater than others. Everything they do is out of selfish gain. They “leverage” the platform and turn it into their personal throne where they can judge others according to their standard instead of the Bibles. I have seen leaders claim that if they are not using their gifts the way they want or are not getting enough “face time” then the church or event is sinning against God.

Who Is Following You?

Let me put something in perspective here. You know you are a leader if people are following you. You can either lead them to Christ or you can lead them to you. Jesus even said there are two types of spiritual leaders: ministers who care about the people under their charge, and those who are self-serving.

Quite frankly I am tired of childish leaders who think it is all about them. They take their egos into ministry and make sure that they are catered to like divas who need the green m&m’s picked out.

The crux of leadership is being a servant. Jesus was our example in this. The platform is a privilege that has been given to us by God so we can teach others to love HIM more.

The altar is HIS throne, Not ours.

Ice Cube said it pretty good “You better check yo self before you wreck yo self

Philippians 2:3-11 says it better:

3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

6 Though he was God,t
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.

7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,t

8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Joel Klampert is a designer, blogger, social media ninja, speaker, artist, worship leader (at Lifepath Church in RI) and co-founder of The Forge Conference.

Originally published at klampert.com. Republished with permission.

While you’re reading, check out some of our great posts from the past!



is the Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church, where he mentors, oversees and helps lead Family and Student worship environments. He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community and at HighestPraise.com.

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