Should Leaders Create Controversy?

2One of the greatest things preventing many pastors and churches from reaching their optimal level of impact is their fear of controversy.

Controversy over how they approach ministry compared to other churches.
Over an unpopular stance they take.
Over their dedication to the truth.

They’re so afraid of upsetting anyone, they compromise their message and the unique calling God has placed on them. They avoid criticism, which no one likes to receive. But they forfeit something far greater:

Influence. You can’t have influence if you are not willing to be controversial.

Just ask Jesus. People in Jesus’ day sharply differed on their opinions of Him. Wherever He went, people loved Him. And loved to hate Him. They flocked to Him to hear Him preach and see Him heal. But also to argue with Him and accuse Him of being the devil.

Jesus was controversial. And for that reason, I don’t think it’s a coincidence His message spread and made the impact it did. Nor is it a coincidence He went to the cross. They didn’t kill Jesus because He was nice and agreeable. They killed Him because He was a threat. He was different. He challenged the accepted system. And they hated Him for it.

If Jesus’ ministry was controversial, why do we expect ours should be any different? If people hated Jesus, what ever made us think everyone would be cheering us on?

If you want to be like Christ, expect controversy. If you’re faithful to what God has called you to do, you are going to be misunderstood. Criticized. Maybe even hated. But don’t worry when people are criticizing you. Worry when they’re not criticizing you. Because at that point you’ve blended in too much to be worth noticing. Personally, I’d rather be misunderstood than ignored.

You’ve got to become comfortable with controversy.
Controversy is a sign of progress. Controversy is a sign of impact.

And that makes it worth some of the baggage that might come along with it.

Photo(s)/Resource(s): Steven Furtick