The Danger of Examination

I hated tests.

Really. Sure, I survived them and have a Master's degree to prove it but that doesn't mean I liked them much. Fact is, I'm still not really thrilled with them but they serve their place.

John Meunier recently posted on the danger of being well liked. It certainly is interesting to consider how well we like to be liked and yes, I think there is certainly a danger in it. It can make us too comfortable.

I wonder if the bigger danger though, is in examination, or in the lack thereof. As a United Methodist pastor, there is some regular accountability each year. District Superintendents have the opportunity to examine as does the church.

As a church planter, there are even more examinations. Much is invested in a new church and so I have found much more examinations taking place. But the danger of examination isn't so much in the amount, but whether anything is learned from it and what one does with what is learned.

It can be hard to rise above the praise and encouragement that comes. Is it wrong to receive it? No, but the problem comes in dwelling in it or for that matter, receiving praise that, upon examination, may not even be deserved. This is not the fault of a congregation, this becomes the choice of the pastor or any leader, to stay where one is comfortable. In doing so one fails to experience the danger of examination.

As I grow older, I think this is where I part ways with the "Peter Principle" (In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence), unless it simply is illustrating that the incompetent are those who choose not to grow. The danger of examination is that we might learn both our weaknesses and our strengths. Knowing both, we then have potential for doing the dangerous thing - living.


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