Reflections on the Investigation into Mike Pilavachi and Christian Leadership
Luke 22 v24 – 27
And a dispute also developed among them as to which one of them was regarded as being the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles domineer over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not this way for you; rather, the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
In recent months there have been times where these words sadly do not seem to be reflected in the style and manner of leadership in some of the Christian church. As news comes out of failures in Christian leadership there is a trail of pain and suffering left in people’s lives, and it is deeply troubling. Our heart and prayers go out to all who have suffered, with particular concern for the rising generation of young people. The church should be a place where they are protected, loved, encouraged and inspired.
In the light of recent events and acknowledging that Mike Pilavachi spoke at one of our Revive weeks, we want to express a few things from the Ministry Team of Ichthus.
Love and Compassion for the Hurt
We want to express love and compassion for all who have suffered first hand abuse of any kind, and particularly where that pain results from the abuse of power in the Christian church. It takes a huge amount of courage to disclose details of difficult things that have happened.
The Example of Jesus
The truth of the incarnation reveals a God who, in Jesus’ own words, is ‘gentle and humble of heart’ (Matt 11:29). There is no room in Jesus’ life and teaching for leaders who use people for their own agendas, egos or gratification. The calling of leadership has weighty implications and a deep calling to holiness.
Do not become teachers in large numbers, my brothers, since you know that we who are teachers will incur a stricter judgment.
Jesus modelled team life, and that team life takes hard work to get right. Being told ‘get behind me Satan’ wasn’t Peter’s finest hour (Matt 16:23). But we must ask ourselves how much that harsh rebuke contributed to what we see in the shepherd-hearted disciple who wrote the letters 1 and 2 Peter. Team life, trust and dependence on the Holy Spirit will enable true accountability to happen within a church that is genuinely ‘built together as living stones’ (1 Pet 2:5). Accountability can’t just exist in a policy in a folder somewhere in our church office. Nor can it just be on our lips as a value we hold dear. It must be chosen in to from the heart, and lived out in a way where challenge and correction are welcomed, encouraged and acted on, regardless of how fruitful or successful our teammates appear to be.
It would be wise for those of us in leadership to examine our own hearts again. If there is a purifying in the leadership and vision of the church then can we, in faith, start to see revival rivers flowing again in the UK? After all, Jesus did say ‘the pure in heart will see God’ (Matt 5:8), and David said ‘who can ascend the hill of the Lord? …He who has clean hands and a pure heart’ (Psalm 24:3-4).
2 Chronicles 7:14
[if] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
We write these words today knowing that we too could be susceptible to misusing the influence that comes with leadership positions, which is why as Ichthus leaders we diligently want to pursue the vision of leadership above. Let us obey to the scriptures with constant humility, prayer and seeking the face of Jesus.
It takes a great deal of strength to report abuse. We would encourage anyone who has concerns relating to the investigation into Mike Pilavachi to report those to the National Safeguarding Team on email@example.com
Or contact thirtyone:eight on 0303 0031111.
If you have any safeguarding concerns in Ichthus then please contact our designated safeguarding lead Abi Willetts. firstname.lastname@example.org