I just received word of a pastor I know who’s stuck in adultery with a church staff member. It’s been going on for many months. And for all those months, there he was, looking cool and talking cool in a growing, thriving and edgy church, preaching the Scriptures week after week and casting vision for church planting and multi-site campuses . . . all the while engaging in a secret sexual affair. He’s a husband and a father and was a pastor. And he drove his life over a cliff.
Sex led to his fall, but some seductions are more subtle. For some, it’s the intoxication of money, or power, or prestige or maybe the praise of men or who knows what. Any of them can lead to a slow eroding corrosion or a sudden collapse. Doesn’t matter which way. At their center is nothing but wood, hay and straw.
This is why it’s a privilege to welcome faithful pastors into the FiveStone Churches work of church planting, church renewal and church strengthening. It’s been one year since FiveStone Churches launched as a network focused on character as the proving ground for ministry leadership. Gifting obviously is important, but it must be secondary to the qualifications described for eldership in 1 Timothy 3-4 and in Titus 1. We’re committed to Christ as the foundation of the church and to building on His foundation with precious stones—1 Corinthians 3:11-13. We look to Christ to define those stones. He defined them for us in the description of the good shepherd—John 10:1-18.
The stones are Integrity, Authenticity, Trust, Leadership, Service. We put them together this way:
Integrity proves Authenticity.
Authenticity leads to Trust.
Trust leads to Leadership.
And that’s why I appreciate faithful pastors. They love the Lord and humbly serve the Lord’s church year after year after year.
I remember listening to Moody radio when George Sweeting was honored for his years as president of the Moody Bible Institute. One comment during the tribute sticks in my mind: George Sweeting never caused us to be ashamed. It doesn’t mean he was perfect or even very good on some days. But it rang true as an overall tenor of his life. That tribute is richer than any other success. It is possible to live that way. That’s gold, silver and precious stones.