Matt Chandler on setting an example:
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
I learned this one the hard way. Two years ago, this was probably one of the most heartbreaking things in my years of ministry. I was at lunch with some people that had just gotten back from a missions trip in India.
I was listening to different people and was hearing a story. There were two buses that took our crew and another crew to get out to a place. Our crew decided to tell the best joke they’ve ever heard. When they pull up, the other group gets out and there’s tears running down their face.
It disturbed me. I couldn’t let it go. I didn’t know what to do with it. Why, on the way out to do missions, are people who are covenant members of The Village doing knock-knock jokes when the people in the other van are calling out for mercy to God?
One morning I was reading the Bible and journaling my thoughts. I had a surly professor in college who I loved and hated. He had an extreme, high expectation of you. He said, “Five years in, what’s wrong with your church is wrong with you.” I don’t know if he’s right, but the Holy Spirit said, “Remember?” I laid on the floor and sobbed because my witty, sarcastic humor had been embedded into The Village so much that on the way out to such a dark, spiritual destination, we’re doing knock-knock jokes. It devastated me. I constantly pray that God would protect the people of The Village from me.
Be the example in word, in deed, in purity, in love, in prayer. Be the example.
Taken from “A Shepherd and His Unregenerate Sheep.” Emphasis mine.
I would like to add that the truth that “five years in, what’s wrong with your church is wrong with you” is also applicable to your family and work. The people following your lead will become like you or they won’t stick around. Leadership makes the difference.