John Fletcher

As many of you already know, I am currently going to a Nazarene church. Because I don't want to be ignorant of the church's background, I have read two biographies of John Wesley and am currently reading the writings of John Fletcher.

John Fletcher was an interesting man and is currently an ignored man. The only way I've been able to find books written by him or on his life is on Ebay.

His life brings up an interesting point concerning leadership. Something that is similar to what we have been discussing here. At a couple points in John Fletcher's life, John Wesley pursued him to be his replacement as leader of the Methodist movement. But John Fletcher would have none of it. He felt he was where God wanted him and passed up all the power and glory that would've solidified his name in history. Instead he is just a footnote here and there, and his writings are long out of print.

This brings up the question of leadership because John Fletcher appears to have been right. He was not supposed to be John Wesley's successor. He even died before John Wesley. However, the top-down leadership model would dictate that John Wesley was the right one because he was the one further up the totem pole.

It is impressive to me, and I hope I can have a similar faith, that John Fletcher gave up the accolades of men in order to stay ministering where God wanted him because the focus of a minister's life is not earthly acclaim but faithfulness to the calling of God. Too often, I see ministers leave churches because they were "called" elsewhere. The peculiar thing to me is that the "elsewhere" is always a better paying church or a position with more fame.

"When a preacher is possesed of Christian piety; or, in other words, when he has made his peace with God, by that deep repentance which enables us to die unto sin, and by that living faith which unites us to Christ, he naturally invites the world to embrace a Saviour who has wrought for him so wonderful a deliverance: and this invitation he enforces with all the power and warmth which must ever accompany deep sensibility...You will never win others over to a religious life, unless you yourself are first possessed of piety."

In all this talk about church and leadership, I hope none of us have lost the focus on the most important attribute of a Christian leader, being right with God. All of the principles learned in leadership books could be applied for perceived gains in a church, but if the heart of the leader is not where it should be, then his ministry will not be what it could be.

Watch out for the potholes.