Pastor, when was the last time you jarred your people? How long has it been since your preaching provoked such sorrow in your people that it ignited a change-of-life the Bible calls “repentance?”

Would you love your people well enough to provoke them to suffer—unto repentance? In “The Problem of Pain” CS Lewis wrote: “Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness. Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering.”

So consider: do you love your congregation sternly and splendidly, or has it been your aim to ceaselessly rescue them from suffering?

This, I think, is a second condition that’s invited the spiritual lethargy that’s settled over the Church like the marine layer that engulfs San Francisco Bay.

Our over-commitment to be kind has left our people immature and shallow.


-Kirk Kirlin, Leadership Courage more at

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