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When church leaders collide

Unsplash/Makarios Tang

The American Bald Eagle is absolutely one of the most majestic creatures on the planet. In addition to being gloriously beautiful, they are fierce yet reserved, bold, cunning, in a word, a masterpiece of God’s wonderful creation. Although they are warriors, when we think of bald eagles we usually just think of them as peaceful creatures either soaring through the air, or tending to their nests or perhaps catching fish from a rushing mountain stream. Most photographers capture them doing one of these three things.

In a recent BBC Earth television broadcast called “Life Story,” hosted by David Attenborough, a closer glimpse into the life of these eagles revealed a side of them we almost never see, namely, eagles fighting! As I was watching this program, the Holy Spirit suddenly reminded me of something He had been speaking to me about. It was if bells started going off, birthing this article.

I often pray: “Father God, send revival to every town, every village, every hamlet, every city of this great nation from sea to shining sea. Father visit our nation once again with a true Holy Spirit outpouring that will open eyes to the fact of Your reality. Oh God, have mercy on us as a nation and on our sinful hearts. Many have been mistaught; misinstructed, or misinformed about who you really are. Revive us once again oh Lord, in spite of our indifference to You, through Your abundant grace and mercy.” I probably have prayed something similar to that prayer thousands of times in my life with my whole heart expecting, as have many-many other people.

Recently the Holy Spirit said something to me that shocked me. He spoke to me “Nolan, for revival to come, I am going to start a cleansing in the hearts and minds of all the church leaders who will hear me. Many leaders are oblivious to their offenses and how much that they hinder me from working in their towns and cities. I want you to be ready to speak what I call you to speak! I want to reveal these offenses.”

One of the first things the Lord put on my heart to do was to call the leadership of the churches of this nation to lay their titles at the foot of the cross and see themselves just as Christians saved by grace. In an age where possessing title is a huge deal, over the past two decades this same pride of position has crept into the church.

It so happens that over the past few years, God has been using me to send quick and powerful messages on social media to listening hearts through a combination of graphic art and prophetic inspiration. Because I am a part of many groups, some of those groups have several thousand members; I can send a post out to thousands of people in about fifteen minutes. My first response to God’s message to me last week was to create a post, which featured three people praying for a small child. Superimposed on the image was the following message:

Before you are called to be an apostle,
                  You are called to be a Christian.
Before you are called to be a prophet,
                  You are called to be a Christian.
Before you are called to be an Evangelist,
                 You are called to be a Christian.
Before you are called to be a Pastor,
                You are called to be a Christian.
Before you are called to be a Teacher,
               You are called to be a Christian.

God is issuing this call to humility because what is shocking the world right now is seeing eagles collide! Its seeing men and women of God in Christian leadership doing things and acting in ways that in many cases are more evil than the non-professing Christians.

I cannot tell you as an evangelist for many years how many times I have had a discussion or a luncheon with a fellow minister. In those discussions, almost without fail, the fellow minister starts bringing up either how many attendees church “X” is having or “what they are teaching” over there! On the other hand, some of the most amazing people in the world I have ever met, have been men and women of God in Christian leadership. The sacrifice, the determination, the willpower, the compassion, the talent goes beyond description. It sort of reminds me of those American Bald Eagles. Yet when they start to fight everyone’s poetic image gets thrown out the window.

In the Life Story of the American eagle, I was amazed to learn how territorial they are regarding their fishing grounds. Young eagles flying in to catch landlocked salmon are quickly accosted by an older eagle and fly away bloodied. Likewise when leaders in the churches start becoming territorial sort of like the eagles, then begin colliding with other leaders in their area, or even within their own churches, it leaves a bad feeling inside the hearts of those looking for Christ-like leadership. We should be trusting God with our increases.

I once was a part of a large church where for years two members of the ministerial staff had, behind the scenes, been secretly at odds. They disagreed often but both had been around so long it seemed little could be done about it. When the time came for the older of the two to retire, the congregation, who loved them both, and was oblivious to the conflict, assumed the second in command would become the pastor. Sadly, when he instead was asked to resign by the board, it shocked everyone and led to a triple church split affecting hundreds of people. When eagles collide, God’s church is afflicted!

God’s eagles, hear the call of the Holy Spirit to return to the foot of the cross in humility and get back to the basics of being filled with Him every day! You will become an exceptional leader by being the best Christian you can be!

Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is

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