Finding the right church and trustworthy church leaders can be a daunting task. The importance of having righteous leaders in your spiritual journey cannot be overstated, as they play a crucial role in guiding your faith and nurturing your relationship with God. To shed light on this topic, we turn to Dr. Rosalyn Best, author of “S.H.I.T. Happens in Church,” for her valuable insights on identifying righteous church leaders.
Assessing the 5 Ms (Motive, Manners, Marriage, Ministry, and Money): According to Rosalyn Best, one of the primary ways to discern whether your church leader will deceive you is by examining the five Ms. If these aspects of your church leaders don’t align with the word of God, then you can be sure that your church leader will deceive you.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are they genuinely motivated by a desire to serve the congregation and spread the teachings of God?
- Is there a hidden agenda at play?
- How do they handle money in the ministry? If leaders are constantly begging for money or their financial practices seem questionable, it is a red flag.
- Are they married? Are they living a good marital life? If they are single, how do they handle themselves in singlehood?
Fruit Inspection: Best urges us to look for the fruits of good church leadership. She believes that if the fruit or spirit of love is not evident in the leadership, it’s not a good sign. This means assessing their mannerisms, including self-control, kindness, and love for the people. Good leaders should exhibit these qualities consistently. If leaders only put on a show in front of the congregation but are unapproachable in private, it’s a cause for concern. True righteousness should be visible both in public and private interactions.
Criteria for Righteousness: When asked about specific criteria or characteristics to evaluate church leaders’ righteousness, Best brings us back to the concept of fruit. She encourages individuals to rely on their intuition and gut feelings to recognize a righteous leader. Additionally, she emphasizes that comparing a leader’s actions and behavior to God’s words can provide a solid basis for assessment. Leaders who prioritize their personalities, greed, and selfishness over their congregation’s well-being do not align with God’s teachings.
Illustrating Positive and Negative Traits: Best provides us with specific stories from her book. For instance, one of her bizarre experiences took place when a church in Springfield, Florida, sought a fresh start after a separation. They invited a couple to host services and address spiritual issues. The male speaker claimed that Christians could have demons inside them, which led to an unusual ritual involving paper bags for purging. Best, initially skeptical, still participated. At that time, Best thought she could not see herself doing such foolishness, but because sheep are dumb, she went right along with it and just spit a little mucus into her bag to satisfy the spectators. To her surprise, her then-husband, Samuel, exhibited violent reactions, suggesting inner turmoil.
The female speaker also promoted bizarre, unsupported beliefs about women having three vaginas. This story illustrates the challenges and questionable practices that go on in church.
Forgiveness and Redemption: Addressing the idea of forgiveness and redemption for church leaders who have made mistakes in the past, Best provides a three-step approach. She highlights the importance of recognizing one’s wrongdoings, making amends, and approaching those who were offended with honesty. Remorse is a key element in seeking forgiveness, and those who genuinely seek to make things right should be open about their past mistakes. In such cases, forgiveness can pave the way for healing and restoration.
Finding the Right Church: Best advises individuals searching for a church with righteous leadership to approach the process with optimism and hope. She compares choosing a church to dating someone, suggesting that it’s essential to get to know the church and its ministry deeply. Beyond the surface, it’s crucial to observe how the church serves and what it stands for. Don’t rush into a commitment; instead, spend time attending services and events for an extended period, perhaps 30-90 days, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the church’s values and practices.
In conclusion, identifying righteous church leaders is a vital aspect of your spiritual journey. Rosalyn Best’s insights remind us to be vigilant in assessing leaders’ motives, actions, and the fruits of their leadership. By relying on intuition, comparing their behavior to God’s teachings, and practicing forgiveness when necessary, individuals can find trustworthy church leaders who guide them in their faith. Read Best’s book “S.H.I.T. Happens in Church” for more information on how to identify rightful church leaders.