When you're a 'wee nipper' of a Christian you look at church leaders and think "wow, what amazing people! Wish I could be living in what Bryn Jones/Terry Virgo/Bob Mumford/Arthur Wallace/Steve Thomas/Arthur Mullard* et al were living in! They must be such men of God".
And then you live a little with them - well, not most of that list, but other, more local MoG and although they still seem pretty amazing, you start to realise they aren't *completely* perfect.
Then there comes a time after you've been in the church a long while, and you look at those in leadership - please note this is NOT specifically about churches we've been in, but in a more general context - and you realise there are some real character flaws in there. Some of them are relatively minor, causing rows & hurt with some people they can't get on with. Some are more serious, where the teaching is twisted a bit to suit the preacher/teacher's purpose, rather than the truth. Some are very serious indeed, like the guys that have affairs or kiddy-fiddle.
It makes me stand back and wonder. There are some who should know better than to pedestal leaders like they are something special** ( a little flashback to Harry Enfield's Kevin & Perry characters, talking about their prospective girlfriends, suggesting that they were so perfect they didn't go to the toilet!). While it's right that leaders are honoured and respected, and at the same time given room to carry out their responsibilities, things get crazy when we lift those people out of the ordinary, and anyone self-pedestalling needs a little reality brought.
One of the things I've tried to deal with when I've heard the phrase used is the concept of 'full time ministry'. I'm called to do what I do full time. Chris is also in full time ministry (sometimes it feels like 2 lots of full time ministry to her!). But that's another topic.....
What am I saying?
Good question. There's an expectation that we have to reach a certain peak of 'Godliness' before we can see ourselves as worthy (ha ha, like we ever can be) of leading people, of serving God. Looking around I see leaders who on one side love God and want to serve Him with all they are, but sometimes all they are includes them being manipulative, insecure, domineering, disobedient and religious. It makes me realise that there is no bar to reach in order to hear and respond to the calling of God. And also, that accidentally making a mistake is not the worst thing you can do.
* Maybe not this one, but you get the idea.
** Some are something special, but they are usually the ones who are naturally humble, telling you how ordinary they are.