Self serving leadership: The platform is not your throne

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.”

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 phonebooth before a service and change into their super hero costume to make sure no one sees their secret identity.

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 “facetime” then the church or event is sinning against God.

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 mm’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 privilegest;
he took the humble position of a slavet
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.






12 responses to “Self serving leadership: The platform is not your throne”

  1. Ryan Egan Avatar

    Amen and amen. I have a guest post coming out about this same issue as well as Sovereign Grace’s “Let Your Kingdom Come” continues to kick me in the gut about pride and platform.

  2. Alastair Avatar

    Great stuff Joel. Every leader is prone to slipping towards selfishness. We must keep ourselves in check constantly. It’s great to have you back blogging.

  3. HL Avatar

    Great post! Got me thinking about my own leadership.

  4. Joel Klampert Avatar

    Thanks guys… yeah I totally agree I think we can all be selfish at times. That’s only human. It’s when we think we are greater than God or people who us stuff that things can get dangerous and habitual

  5. Marie Avatar

    Nice job Joel. Praying for ya!!

  6. Michael Avatar

    Good word Joel. I wish there was a way we could do that in my church, that is, no stage, everyone on the same level. I am most comfortable serving: without authority and without payback. But, when I think about it, my church does practice this spiritually if not physically. Thanks for sharing your heart thoughts…

  7. Adam Avatar

    I think Ice Cube would be honored that you used his quote in this context.. lol

    great post man!

  8. Mike Mahoney Avatar

    The flip side of this is that it’s ok – even necessary – for leaders to be selfish from time to time. And not on the platform.

    If a leader doesn’t take time for him or herself, for family, for learning, for *being* led and fed, he’s destined to lose effectiveness. It’s OK to serve yourself. It’s OK to say “no” once in a while; it’s even healthy for those who follow.

  9. Joel Klampert Avatar

    Mike… yeah that’s another post I’m working on.
    This was selfishness and using the platform to lift you up…

    you are talking about you can’t pour out more than you have and you are soooo right

  10. Fred McKinnon Avatar

    how loud can I say “amen”.

  11. Joel Klampert Avatar

    ha ha!! heard you loud and clear fred!

  12. Barry Westman Avatar

    Great stuff, Joel. Sad, but true about selfish leaders. Great reminder!

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