Sydney is in spring, and our azalea, camelia, clivea, and rhododendron are flowering beautifully. Wherever you might be, I hope you can be refreshed by God’s creation.
Redefining Success as a Church was the topic of my last letter. Success is seductive, and bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. All middle-class and prosperous churches need to heed Jesus’ warning, “WATCH OUT! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.” (Luke 12:13)
Also, watch out for false humility
If we are not growing personally or as a church or Christian organisation, we also need to “WATCH OUT!” Perhaps we are being poor stewards. What we call ‘humility’ might be a façade for a lack of faith, vision, drive and godly ambition.
I have observed declining churches and organisations take pride in their wonderful history, purity and intense devotion; as if they’re the faithful remnant. This might be false humility, and they’re declining because they’re more devoted to irrelevant traditions instead of being responsive to the Holy Spirit and the times. Their fear or choice to be comfortable stifles creativity and change and prevents growth.
Resist both pride and false humility
It is tempting to be judgmental when highly successful people, ministries and churches seem to draw attention to themselves and act out their pride. We also need to be alert to our fear of success. We might be running away from ambition, influence, growth, speaking out, success and the spotlight it brings because we are afraid that we might succumb to pride.
This might be false humility because we are still thinking of ourselves. CS Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
Connect with the real Jesus of the Bible and receive His help
Jesus was not passive, silent, stuck on tradition or a doormat. He was neither prideful nor took credit for His teaching or miracles. He depended on God to teach with authority, confront religious and political leaders, and perform miracles. He wants to empower us to be His witnesses and channels of His blessings. We can avoid false humility and pride by depending on God as the Source and giving Him the glory. Jesus wants us to be ambitious for His Kingdom and justice and to give generously.
Have you noticed people, churches or organisations that appear to take pride in their ‘humility’ or their ‘success’? Similar tendencies in ourselves? Possibly you, like me, want to avoid false humility and pride. This is most challenging because we suffer from personal, organisational, denominational and cultural blind spots.
Community is key
We cannot identify our blind spots and grow on our own. We need to be part of a functioning community of faith. We need to exercise true humility by empowering others to challenge us and show our blind spots.
Do you have a group that helps you to redefine success according to Jesus?
Join me and readers from other cultures, meeting weekly for ONLINE discussions to apply the book.
6 Fridays, starting 14 October 2022, from 8 to 9:30 PM AEDT
Watch this two-minute video about the course.
An endorsement from a participant, Melanie J. Saward, author of Ministry Stinks and Disillusioned,
Having been a pastor and Christian author, I have been vigilant to walk out God’s plan for my life. Yet, I felt like a complete failure in 2021!
I couldn’t work out the source of such feelings until I began reading Redefining Success according to Jesus and doing the online course. Turns out my internal measures of success are really worldly definitions of success and unhealthy … and I didn’t even know it!
Since doing the course, I have felt a great sense of freedom … and with renewed courage!
Click below for more information and receive a 50% discount with the coupon SuccessJesus (individual registration) or SuccessJesusGroup (group registration).
Purchase an eBook from anywhere and purchase a paperback if you are in Australia from our website:
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May we experience Jesus as we resist pride and false humility.