When I played junior varsity basketball in high school, my teammates and I often clowned around way too much. This was reflected in our won/loss record. If we had put as much energy into practice as we did our pranks, we might have won a few more games.
For instance, we typically would designate one player to lead us out of the locker room before the game. We would get all fired up, and our leader would take the ball and charge onto the floor, with his enthusiastic teammates right behind him.
Once, we schemed to stay back and laugh as an unsuspecting “leader” stormed onto the court all by himself. Of course, this was hilarious. However, after pulling this prank a couple of times, it was difficult to find anyone willing to lead us out of the locker room. No one trusted the others to follow his lead.
Unfortunately, this sometimes happens in the church. The leaders move out ahead of the flock, excited about the new and exciting experiences that the Lord has in store for the church, only to look back and see that no one is following. After a couple of such episodes, the leaders become reluctant to take any bold new initiatives, and the church becomes stagnant.
It’s no wonder the Bible tells us: “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”—Hebrews 13:17.