Sunday, 17 March 2013

Vicarious spirituality

I've written a much more extensive blog post, having read Hamo's A Vicarious Spirituality on the Backyard Missionary blog, but it's a bit too current to share, and is safely saved without publishing. However the original article is too good not to share still, so please click the link above and have a look.


  1. Anonymous8:44 pm

    Does current mean it's aimed at people within your church, so your looking not to offend

  2. Not aimed at, but it is very difficult to write things about church that cannot be mis-understood to be making pointed comments about specific people, so it's just better not to say anything. I haven't always done this very well, and one tries to learn from bitter experience.

  3. Anonymous9:17 am

    Equally sometimes you do just have to say it how it is. For the good of them and you and ultimately the church !
    until people are told they don't always know what they're doing.
    Although I think it's down to a personal taste with leaders etc, just a case of what people connect with. I personally prefer traditional Sunday services, where as my son and his wife visit a very lively church with a VERY charismatic preacher. But he certainly speaks gods word to their hearts- and mine when I've visited. where as they really struggle with my church.

  4. For me, the line is down to how those in leadership try to help people walk with God. If they are always trying to push their people deeper into Him, to inspire them to give themselves to Him more, to know Him more deeply then they'll always come out well because those people's roots will be in God Himself. Conversely if they are the kind of people who know the right way to do things, and pro-actively direct people to do things in the right way so that it always seems good, in reality they are undermining the lives and faith of their people and causing them to live through their leaders abilities.

    It can be hard too, as a leader, because you can often look at situations and see that if things were done thus & so then everything would be relatively easy and it would all fall into place. And if you give that guidance and see people doing well as a result of your input then you can feel successful and do it for more people without you realising that you have become the source of their new-found harmony. And of course they will keep coming back to you, which is flattering, although also hard work if you're successful, and so it builds.

    For me, the key to leading people well is to help them find God for themselves in their situation. Often you need to stand beside them, particularly at first or if they're badly wounded, but the aim should always be for them to find their answer in the Father, rather than provide the Father's answer to their need.

  5. Seems a bit harsh on leaders who are charismatic. Everyones needs are different - sounds like an excuse to use rather than tackle the bigger question.
    What your idea of good leadership is may not meet the need of those around you.
    Do you meet the needs of those around you , and help them closer to god ?
    For someone. who is "honest and open" seems funny that you would make comments behind a screen !

  6. Hi Matt, taking your points in order:

    If a leader is charismatic then they will naturally draw people to themselves, and that's fine. However if they direct people's lives without encouraging them to find God's answers for themselves then they are building dependency on their input, rather than those people finding God's answers for themselves.

    OK - a question back: is the role of Christian leaders to meet the needs of those around them? Last year I spent a little time with the leader of another local church, and he was describing the way in which no-one could ever provide enough pastoral care; people would always want more and never be satisfied. And that will always be true until people learn to feed from the source.

    Do I meet the needs? That's quite a broad question, and quite personal, but in the context do you think I should be trying to make people dependent on me? If you're the Matt I think then you'll know I've shared out of the things I've walked through, prayed with people, tried to be encouraging to people.... and sometimes got things wrong. But rather than tell people what to do, I've always tried to keep it in the context of what God can do with us and encourage others to find God's answer for themselves.

    Care to explain that last point?


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