what if “the elephant in the room” is arrogance?

kevin conner is one of my accountability partners and one of my closest friends.  because he buys me stuff.

he recently brought me a set of the dvds from “the elephant room” (described in the promo material as “blunt conversations between seven influential pastors who share a common love for the Gospel but take differing approaches to ministry. No keynotes. No canned messages. These are “the conversations you never thought you’d hear.”). if you’re interested here is a taste.

i’ve not watched them all, but what i have seen has been enthralling and disturbing.

there is one glaring deficiency in the lives of some of the “influential pastors” on this panel: it is the fruit of the spirit, gentleness (KJV: meekness). the greek word is praotēs and it means “gentleness, mildness, meekness.” dictionary.com defines meekness as “humbly patient; not easily provoked.”

granted, i cannot possibly make judgments about their lives/ministries from watching these interviews, but did i mention that the deficiency was glaring? if i may be so bold, it seems to me that gentleness is completely absent in the demeanor of some of these guys. dictionary.com (again) lists antonyms for meekness as “arrogance, egoism, pretentiousness, pride, self-importance.” and those are the characteristics i saw in the lives of these guys that have set themselves up as role models. in abundance.

i guess what i’m trying to say is that i want (and want to be) a humble leader. i get weary of the type-a, quasi-violent, “you can’t tell me how to lead” kind of guy. i don’t want a pansy, either, but jesus described himself as “gentle and humble in heart” (matthew 11:29) and isn’t he supposed to ultimately be our example?

the apostle peter warned against false teachers who would show up in the last days; men he describes as, “bold and arrogant” and who “despise authority.” it just seems to me that as a godly leader, i must choose between gentleness and aggression…between humility and arrogance. i can’t have it both ways.  scripture says the Lord “detests” and “resists” and “opposes” the proud of heart. arrogance in a church leader is utterly indefensible.

problem is, an arrogant man is always the last one to recognize arrogance.


(by the way, paul wilkinson over at “thinking out loud” has a great post along these lines.  take a moment and check it out!)





7 thoughts on “what if “the elephant in the room” is arrogance?

  1. Randy: I watched them as they were posted on Vertical church (James McDonald’s blog) and felt the same thing you did. I have toyed with buying them since what I saw may have been skewed. I know I have preconceived ideas about some of the guys that were on that panel so I thought I would give them a fair shake. I would definitely be interested in hearing your thoughts more completely (maybe in a personal email instead of a public forum?). Keep me posted, please.

  2. Hi Randy; thanks for the link. We’ve watched all the Elephant Room DVDs and actually I was impressed by the laid-back humility of a couple of the guys on the panel. But there were others (one especially) about whom it could be said that a little goes a long way. There seem to be some personality adjustments that I have to assume go with the territory.

    • i’m with you, paul. naturally, i didn’t want to mention names, but my respect for a couple of these guys skyrocketed as i watched these sessions. and then there are others…

  3. It’s a good thing that Jesus is the head of the church because we humans are pathetic. I wish all churches could only be 100 people max. This one thing would solve almost every problem we currently experience.

    I’ll just say that regardless of this post, I generally like Mark, Matt, David and even the dude from Harvest. They have track records that are producing fruit. The dude talking to Matt Chandler can’t be legit because he has too much gel in his hair. God hates gel.

  4. “They have track records that are producing fruit”….

    …The only issue i would have with that is this one major issue:

    You can’t count PEOPLE as FRUIT.

    So many times we talk of “successful pastors” in terms of “fruit” and what we many times look at are just numbers. Numbers mean exactly nothing. I could care less if a pastor can get 10000 people to show up for church. LADY GAGA can get 30000 to show up 3 times every weekend. The University of Alabama gets 90,000 plus every Saturday they play (heck they get 50,000 to watch them practice in the spring). Numbers are an almost insignificant measure of ministry. They aren’t fruit. I don’t think anything in the Bible would back that up.

    The disturbing part of it to me was the atmosphere of “I have done a ton so people who haven’t can’t be critical”. It is arrogance and narcism. It’s dangerous.

    I admit that i know little about many of the guys in that video. I can say from watching them have a laid back conversation that I would not attend the church of two of them for certain. I would say that two of them impressed me (Platt…who i found humble…and Chandler who i found bold but not oozing arrogance).

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