Last night I joined the local church.
I've come to town to lead the local church, yet I need to be a part, not apart from it. I need to be amongst the ranks of the new, the not yet known, the being made ready. I need to, not out of some cheap political stunt to identify with the troops before brushing the dust off and returning to my ivory tower of leadership. I need to because I too need the local church in order to be formed more readily and purposefully into the life that Jesus has for me.
I've not come to town to dispense life transforming grace. I've come in deep need of it myself, and the place I find it is in the local church. Unless I want to remain on a pedestal of professional perfection, I must recognise my need to encounter life change, discipleship through friendship. I'm not immune to it, not beyond it. Indeed, if I don't get shaped in this way I can't go on.
Whoever started the rumour that pastors, leaders, were above one anothering, called instead to model perfection in isolation? Who said we needed to be the best at everything, the furthest forward, the deepest thinkers, the most perfected? That's a lie spun by the insecure. Amongst God's people is where I belong.
Don't hear what I'm not saying - This is not some distortion of scripture that says leaders are just broken people who limp alongside their fellow strugglers and stragglers.
No! I'm not called to misery, or introspective neediness. I do understand the need to lead and model a dependency on Christ. I recognise that I've been transformed, I'm being transformed, I will be transformed - But it takes a church to raise a Christian, and the loving momentum of a local church to challenge and shape me into the greater Christlikeness that enables all of us to look and sound more like him in this broken world.
That's why I joined the local church last night.