Spare a thought for those people who are often overlooked by churches—and if they are Christians—they frequently struggle to even find a suitable church where they can deepen their relationship with Christ. Often we think of those who struggle with life as those who are “down and out” and blighted by impoverishment, or destitution, or ill-health, or family breakdown, or poor mental health. But surprisingly, even those who are seen as super-successful because of their wealth, social stature, public acclaim or amazing achievements, are actually struggling with loneliness, emptiness, and poor mental health — even if they are a Christian. These super-successful Christians are CEOs of large companies, or world-class or national sporting champions, or internationally renowned performing artists, or A-lister actors, or media personalities, or highly sought after professionals such as surgeons or barristers. They often pay a high price for their success, including, long work hours, constant stress, public criticism, extended time away from their families, fierce competition, and strained marriages. These pressures are exacerbated by their constant travel associated with their work which also makes them vulnerable to exhaustion and extraordinary temptations. This is why these super-successful Christians need to join the kind of church that can provide them with the kind of support, counsel, and accountability that every Christian needs. Here’s how a church can become this kind of church.
¶ For consider your calling, brothers:
not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,
not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
First Corinthians 1:26
WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN FINDS IN BELONGING IN A CHURCH
Based on what Jesus said in John 13:34-35, you can not consider yourself a follower of Christ – a Christian – and not belong to a local church. The establishment of the Church was the central the furtherance of Christ’s redemptive mission (Mtt. 16:18; 18:17). When the apostle Paul wrote his explanation of the gospel to the Romans in which he explained how someone could become a Christian, he concluded with a “Therefore” List in Romans 12:9-21. His Therefore List includes 27 things every Christian is expected to do since repenting and putting their faith in the Saviour. None of them, and I repeat none of them, is possible without belonging in a local church.
As a church we pray a lot for the hurting, lost, lonely, and broken to come to Christ and find salvation, forgiveness soul-cleansing and healing, acceptance, and restoration. We rejoice that over and over again God has answered our prayers. We have welcomed into our church family many people who had formally lost hope and who had thought that their life no longer mattered to anyone. But each of these converts to Christ would tell you that this is no longer the case. They have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit who has transformed (and is transforming) them into a new identity as a son or daughter of God the Father. They have also found unconditional love and acceptance from, and in, our church family. Many these trophies of God’s grace would testify that their lives had hit rock bottom before they turned to Christ. But for many super-successful Christians, this is not their story.
Some of the godliest people I know are also super-successful Christians. In my experience, the statement by Christ about a rich person finding it difficult to accept that they are spiritually bankrupt, corrupted by sin, and in need of the Saviour, has been verified over and over again (Mark 10:23). Nearly all of these super-successful Christians were Christians before they became super-successful. As such, they have been discipled into the virtues of humility and teachability which they have continued to cultivate. Most of them are very committed to their local churches and have become accustomed to making sacrifices in their careers in order to maintain their walk with Christ and service within their church. They have found immeasurable value in belonging to their local church.
WHY EVERY CHRISTIAN NEEDS TO BELONG IN A CHURCH
– EVEN THE SUPER SUCCESSFUL
These benefits of a believer belonging in a local church include:
- It is their spiritual ‘home’ where they can be nourished, fed, relax, learn, and connect with their church family.
- It is their refuge, a haven, and a sanctuary, where they are safe.
- It is their reminder that they are not alone, and the GOD cares for people who are different, and so should we.
Because a local church is like:
- a garden, a green-house, a plant nursery – for propagating and planting (Psalm 1:3; 92:13).
- a birthing clinic, a hospital, a hospice, and a clinic where new souls are birthed, wounded souls are healed, and those souls ready to depart are reassured (Matt. 10:6-7).
- an inn, a hotel, a retreat (Luke 10:34-35).
- a dispensary of spiritual medicine, care, relief and counsel.
- a meeting-place, an introduction agency where new friendships can be forged, and a place of significant relationship-life-moments (marriages, baby dedications, water baptisms, and funerals).
Each of these aspects of the local church satisfy a deep longing within every human soul to belong. And belonging to a local church provides several unique blessings compared with belonging to any other group. But I have discovered that often the super-successful are very lonely. They can find it difficult to trust people. They are often left wondering, “If I was not so successful, would any actually like me?” This is why some super-successful Christians even find it difficult to join a church. And as a result they miss out on something that Christ has designed to be immeasurably precious for His followers. Could we be the kind of church where those constantly in the public eye could find a refuge and dispensary for their soul?
HOW A CHURCH CAN SUPPORT THE SUPER SUCCESSFUL
I remember hearing the C.E.O. of the world’s largest public company, who was a Christian, being interviewed about the challenges he faced in leading a company with a ninety-billion-dollar annual turnover and one-hundred-and-seventy-thousand staff. His week regularly involved flying to several continents for face-to-face meetings with managers and government officials. It was ordinary for him to get home late on a Saturday night. He made it his habit to attend his local Presbyterian church. He was asked by the interviewer what he needed from his church. His answers can be divided into two categories and it is these categories that I will conclude with what other super-successful Christian needs in their church:
For a Church-
- Treat a super-successful-Christian as a brother or sister-in-Christ, not as a celebrity.
- Don’t assume that they are doing well just because they are successful in their role.
- Pray for them as you would for any brother or sister-in-Christ.
- Don’t try to seek “a favour” from them.
For a Pastor-
1. Do your job well — work at each of the aspects of pastoral responsibility especially preaching. This involves continually improving your level of preparation, presentations, and delivery.
2. Do not treat the super-successful as “trophies” — don’t name-drop that you are pastoring so-and-so when talking with other pastors.
3. Reach our pastorally to the super-successful — catch up with them. Invite them to dinner, or coffee, or breakfast near where they work. Listen to them and ask how they would like to be prayed for. Enquire how their devotional life with the Lord is going with very specific questions as “What did you read in your Bible this morning?” or, “Where are you up to in your Bible reading?”
4. Protect them spiritually — by praying privately for them and ensuring that their spouse and children are being pastorally cared for as well.
If you are a super-successful person, I hope that will come to accept the assessment of Jesus Christ about the dangers of neglecting the condition of your soul because you have been distracted instead by your success (Mark 8:36). And so doing, I also hope that you will come to apply what Jesus Christ taught was the solution to an empty and dark soul — surrendering to Him as your Saviour (Matt. 11:28). And if you are a super-successful-Christian who has not yet found a church-family to join, I hope that you find church that adheres to principles above led by a pastor who is committed to the above four principles of pastoring – because that’s the kind of church every super-successful Christian really needs to join.
Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.
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