There are certain things that you face in leadership that are inevitable,” MacArthur said explaining his second point, “and one of them is you lose an election.” Referring to Donald Trump, he made the comment, “But narcissistic people can’t even take the inevitable. And what was left of the vestiges of the people surrounding the President was–whatever energies and talents were left–were all gathered up in one utterly hopeless effort to overturn a national election.”
“People were used to build up the man. [Trump] Then they were used again to try to overturn the inevitable,” the pastor pointed out and said those people got worn out and eventually there was no one left. “This is deadly to leadership,” he said.
Christian leaders need to be in the flow of what God is doing, which MacArthur called embracing divine providence (Who has God placed around you? How can you maximize the tools and resources you have? Because they are the ones God has given you). “I don’t want to live in a world where God is not in charge, [a world] where He is adjusting as He goes and tries to makes sense out of nonsense,” he said.
He encouraged leaders that whatever you have going on in your ministry, it is because that’s where God put you and there’s a work to be done and “there’s a flow if you embrace the providence. “99% of my life is God’s providence and 1% is something I planned,” he said and gave all credit to God for all he has been doing over the years of ministry.
MacArthur called the election results God’s providence by saying, “We watched the President try to unscrew the unscrewable, to reverse the inevitable because he couldn’t cope with it…you can’t change providence. God has a flow of redemptive history…you should love providence.”
Leadership Failure #3: Sin
The third and final fastest track to leadership failure MacArthur gave was “Sin.”
Citing that this one is obvious, MacArthur said this is something we see the result of all the time when ministers fall due to their transgressions. With so many people searching to exploit your failures in this world, survival of living a second life would be difficult. “You have to start with a clear conscience,” he instructed from 2 Corinthians 1:12 showing “excellency in your character” so that people will give glorify God.
Pastor MacArthur, referring to how much sin is in the world and the church, said “I often thought that if it weren’t for Jesus, I don’t think I could sell Christianity to anybody in this culture because there are so many disappointing agents that represent our savior Jesus.”
MacArthur left the leaders with one last thought before the session concluded and spoke about compromising.
He said, “The assets that are most valuable to you in leadership are trust and respect.” In others words, continue to be what people believe you are, so don’t lose those assets. Building trust builds respect and it can be easily lost.
If you were to do something that is inconsistent with what you have been preaching and living and it breaks the trust between you and those you have been leading “this is an epic failure…because now they don’t know if they can trust you,” MacArthur pointed out.
Using the example of the popular Oak Hills Church Pastor Max Lucado who recently apologized for preaching a 2004 sermon against homosexuality when the LGBTQ community confronted him while preaching at the Washington National Cathedral this year. MacArthur said, “What you just did [referring to Lucado] is cause all the people who trusted you to stop trusting you.” He explained that the dire question of courage and conviction is placed in the minds of all those that trusted him.
Don’t send confusing messages to people who thought you had certain convictions but feel now you have betrayed those convictions, he pleaded. “Protect your integrity…you can’t make some type of big shift without losing your followers.”
Closing the livestream, MacArthur told the leaders to “Be bold! Open your church. The world needs desperately to hear from you…call your people back, be patient and loving with them as they adjust to being together if you haven’t had that.”
Jokingly, but also honestly he said, “They’re not going to be able to shut us all down if we get a ground-swell going…it’s going to be impossible for them to take us all on. So join the group of bold saints and preachers who are saying let’s have church…So open your church and faithfully preach the Word of God.”