Welcome to this week’s unSeminary podcast. We are honored to have Eric Geiger with us. He was recently with LifeWay, but has now transitioned into a new role as senior pastor at Mariners Church in southern California.
There are times as church leaders when we are shocked that the people we’ve looked up to have fallen and seem to have wrecked their lives. It’s so easy to think that it could never happen to us, but the longer he’s been in ministry, the more Eric has realized just how easily it can happen to anyone. Today we’re talking about early warning signs that we are heading down a slippery slope, practical ways we can lead our staffs to guard their hearts, and what to do if we fall.
- Early warning signs. // Looking at King David’s fall, he was a man after God’s heart and the Lord used him to unite the tribes. He was a Godly man, yet he had an affair with Bathsheba and killed her husband. In the story in 2 Samuel 11, there were some early warning signs. The first is David’s isolated and sending people away. A lot of leaders after coming back from a big downfall admit that they also became isolated. Success may have made them feel like no one understood them or they were no longer transparent with people, and they were only surrounded by people who were impressed with them. Senior pastor roles don’t have peers, what they do is so different from everyone else on the staff, and so it is almost isolating in itself. It’s important to be in relationship with people who love you and respect you, but can also rebuke you and aren’t constantly telling you how amazing you are.
- Constant boredom. // Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Sin is always, in some sense, a life of boredom.” David gets up from his bed and walks along the palace roof, and he’s looking for something. This is the same David who in Psalm 63 said, “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.” But in 2 Samuel 11, he’s not thinking of God. If we’re bored, it means we’re not looking at the Lord because He’s never boring. He breathes significance into the mundane.
- A sense of entitlement. // Rich recently read in Let Us Prey: The Plague of Narcissist Pastors and What We Can Do About It by R. Glenn Ball and Darrell Puls that 31.2% of active pastors have a narcissistic personality disorder. Pride is probably the thing that we’ll preach on the most. C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity that pride is the great sin that we see in everybody else, but have trouble seeing in ourselves. An indicator of pride is an ungrateful spirit, a sense of entitlement or ingratitude, and you see that in David when he’s confronted by the prophet Nathan. Nathan tells him that God did all these things for him, and yet it wasn’t enough, he wanted more.
- “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.” // So how do you stop all of this? To kill isolation as a leader, be sure that the teams you’re leading are in some kind of community where they’re held accountable. Get them around other people often. To kill boredom, remind them of the holy mission they’re part of. The grand story they are called to is never boring, so be sure to stir that affection for the mission up in them. To kill pride, remind them that everything they have is only be His grace. We aren’t owed it and we don’t deserve it, we are only given it by His grace.
- Repent without excuses. // In his book How to Ruin Your Life and Starting Over When You Do, Eric shows us how starting over can work using the story of King David. The great news about David is that his story doesn’t end with his fall. He repents and God’s forgiveness and grace allows him to start over. Saul made excuses when he was confronted about his fall, but David didn’t offer excuses, he only repented. You’re not going to get to the healing and grace until you own it, and that’s the lesson we learn from David.
You can pick up Eric’s book from LifeWay, Amazon, or other Christian bookstores. You can reach Eric and learn more about his book at www.ericgeiger.com and learn more about Mariners Church at www.marinerschurch.org.
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Helpful Tech Tools // Google Maps
Ministries Following // Learning about the relationships Mariners Church has with other churches around the globe
Influential Book // Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by by Clayton M. Christensen, Karen Dillon, Taddy Hall, David S. Duncan
Leader to meet // John Kotter
What you do for fun // Exploring the area to help his kids fall in love with Orange County
Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Ministry Grid