If you have been in ministry more than a month than you know loyalty is getting to be a rare trait within the local church. I don’t know exactly why this is but certainly the enemy of our souls has a lot to do with it.
“Being loyal is more than not being disloyal.” There is more to it. Unfortunately some people will read that quote and disagree. A person is not a loyal helper or a loyal friend just because he or she has not acted or spoken disloyally. Again, there is more to it. Loyalty calls for positive support and effort.
Here is good definition: Loyalty is remaining committed to those whom God has brought into our lives and has called us to serve, even in times of difficulty. Being loyal exhibits our commitment to Christ by our commitment–with discernment–to people and righteous causes at all times. It is something we demonstrate both in public and in private.
As a minister there are times when you feel abandoned. There are times when I’ve met someone and it evolves into a friendship, then after awhile it turns into a mentoring relationship. Ive even had close relationships with some who I considered spiritual sons / daughters. I totally understand how Paul felt when he wrote:
2 Timothy 4:9-10
Timothy, please come as soon as you can. 10 Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica.
I know what it’s like to pour into someone, to see them through tough times and even take their urgent call at ungodly hours of the night. I know what its like to counsel them, teach them, and live life with them. I also know what its like to have them leave for the “next best thing” or worse – ignore the wise counsel you imparted to them and do something stupid.
So where do we go from here? Do we raise the white flag of surrender and say, “that’s it… nobody is loyal any more!” You know how we get into our old testament prophet impersonation 🙂 It’s easy to get bitter, but what does that do? It’s even easier to quit! But how does that advance the kingdom? I think now more than ever, we need to create a culture of loyalty within our church body. Honestly, with so much drama on TV and social media, I’m certain there are folks that have never been exposed to this character trait.
Here is an acronym that I found at churchleaders.com that I’m going to keep handy when it comes to developing (and teaching) a culture of loyalty.
Yield to those who lead you
Trust your teammates
You matter to God