SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Pastor Sergio de la Mora of Cornerstone Church of San Diego, which is the largest Latino-led church in the city and one of the fastest growing churches in America, took the stage during The Heart Revolution conference on Tuesday to speak to over 200 church leaders in attendance about maintaining their focus on the people they serve in order to avoid becoming "ministry monsters."
"People become addicted to doing ministry work at the expense of loving the people they minister to," de la Mora told The Christian Post. "People need to become more important than the project because oftentimes the project becomes more important than the people and that's how we become ministry monsters."
De la Mora's message focused on leaders in ministry who often times treat others as objects instead of humans, causing leaders to become "human doings and not human beings." His message also emphasized how leaders lose sight of their purpose to serve and focus more on doing the work of the church instead of being the church.
"We're task driven people and we love our to-do lists and we live to complete those lists. You can do that with things but when it comes to people, you have to be careful because they need to be handled with love and care, not treated like a thing," de la Mora said.
His no-holds-barred message, aimed to ignite an epiphany among participants with his straightforward approach, discussed the effects that being a ministry monster can produce. He explained that while a leader's focal point gets derailed, his spiritual demeanor suffers and in turn, the people being served suffer, as well.
"When someone becomes a ministry monster, they become desensitized, they become over familiar. The classic person that is involved in ministry that is so busy, begins to regulate their own heart and says, 'I only have compassion for you at this time of the day, it's not who I am, it's just what I do,'" de la Mora said.
While he spoke about leaders becoming enamoured with work and not with the well being of their church members, the broader emphasis of his message also tied in with the focus of the The Heart Revolution conference, which is taking place with the sole purpose to stir a change among leaders so they may cause a revolution within their own churches and communities.
"The essence of the heart revolution is that the course of your life will always be determined by the condition of your heart. When your heart is in the right place, you'll end up in the right place and when it's in the wrong place, you'll end up in the wrong place as well," de la Mora said.
According to de la Mora, leaders who get caught up in building a ministry without realizing that they are neglecting the very people they are building the ministry for, fall into a position where they are no longer leading from their heart. In addition, he says they tend to become "clouds with no rain," and leaders who lead by flesh and not by spirit.
"When people are complaining about your leadership because they're not growing, you can take that two ways, you can say, 'Aw man, what do you mean?' or you can say, 'Hold it, what is the spirit trying to tell me right now?'" de la Mora said.
As a result of others' complaints and because leaders often times are not receptive to criticism, de la Mora said that pride takes center stage of their heart and ministry, which hinders their ability to continue walking in the calling they were ordained to set forth.
In order to refrain from becoming a ministry monster, de la Mora said it is necessary for a leader to embody spiritual characteristics that will not only serve their own life and fulfill their purpose but will spread to the people that they have been called to serve.