My Concerns About Dismissing False Leaders

June 7, 2024

By Jing Wei, China

In September 2020, I was a preacher in the church, responsible for the work of four churches. The leader of one of these churches, Li Ying, had good caliber and was enthusiastic. I had a great impression of her. But a while later, I found that this church had some clear disbelievers and evil people who still hadn’t been cleared out and were disrupting church life. So I fellowshipped with Li Ying, pointing out this situation, and told her the essence and consequences of not clearing them out. Li Ying agreed to clear out these disbelievers and evil people as soon as possible. But two months later, when I looked into their work again, I found that Li Ying still hadn’t done this. She was even siding with the disbelievers and evil people, arguing their cases. As a result, these people who should have been cleared out were still there and being allowed to run amok within the church. In addition, there were problems in brothers’ and sisters’ duties, but Li Ying never fellowshipped the truth to solve them, or pruned those people. Instead, she was heeding their flesh, and making accommodations and indulgences, leading to them not being responsible in their duties, which caused church work to be impacted. Judging by her consistent behavior, Li Ying was a false leader that didn’t do real work and according to principles, should be dismissed immediately. But I thought to myself, “She’s the only leader in this church. If I dismiss her right now, then I’ll have to worry about this church’s projects. Some of these tasks will also require me to go implement in person. Where am I supposed to find the time and energy for that? On top of that, I’ve got work from several other churches to keep track of. I’ll be so busy. I am already over 60 years old, and my health isn’t too good. If I overwork myself, my body may not be able to cope! If I keep Li Ying on, she’ll at least be able to see to general affairs and I’ll be able to ease up a little.” With this in mind, I didn’t dismiss her. Then, in December, Li Ying’s nonbelieving husband started monitoring and following her. She clearly knew he had poor humanity but she kept on coming to gathering places with no consideration for the others’ safety at all. As a result, she endangered quite a few gathering groups. I finally realized just how serious Li Ying’s problem was and I stopped her work immediately. I felt afraid after this. I realized that this had been a consequence of my not dismissing Li Ying quickly enough. I was responsible too!

During my devotionals, I read a passage of God’s word. God says: “How you regard God’s commissions is extremely important, and this is a very serious matter. If you cannot complete what God has entrusted to people, then you are not fit to live in His presence and you should be punished. It is perfectly natural and justified that humans should complete whatever commissions God entrusts to them. This is man’s supreme responsibility, and is just as important as their very lives. If you do not take God’s commissions seriously, then you are betraying Him in the most grievous way. In this, you are more lamentable than Judas, and should be cursed. People must gain a thorough understanding of how to treat what God entrusts to them and, at the very least, they must comprehend that the commissions He entrusts to humanity are exaltations and special favors from God, and that they are most glorious things. Everything else can be abandoned. Even if a person must sacrifice their own life, they must still fulfill God’s commission(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Know Man’s Nature). From God’s word I understood that one’s duty is entrusted by God and that it’s more important than anything else. Treating it lightly and being irresponsible is betraying God. Doing this is essentially just like Judas, and one will be cursed. That I had been able to practice as a preacher in the church was God’s favor. When I found leaders in the church who weren’t doing real work, I should dismiss or transfer them, as needed. That was my duty, my responsibility. As a church leader, Li Ying found a problem but didn’t fellowship the truth to resolve it, and was even blocking the clearing work. She was delaying clearing out obvious disbelievers and evil people, and was even standing up for them. This confirmed that she was a false leader and should be dismissed promptly. But as for me, I worried that once I dismissed her, I wouldn’t be able to find a suitable replacement for a while and I’d have to worry about the church’s work more. So I didn’t dismiss her in good time, which led to security risks and obstructions to the church’s work. I was well aware that false leaders and antichrists are obstacles and roadblocks to brothers’ and sisters’ life entry and that when one is found, they must be eliminated—they cannot be tolerated at all. But to save myself some worry and hardship, I didn’t dismiss Li Ying, despite knowing she was a false leader. I saw that I was truly selfish and despicable. This attitude I had toward my duty truly disgusted God. These realizations scared me quite a bit, so I prayed and repented to God, and quickly dismissed Li Ying. I also exposed and fellowshipped on the essence and consequences of her actions and the others gained some discernment of her. After this, the church elected another leader and gradually, the church’s work finally picked up.

In February of 2021, a preacher responsible for a church in Chengxi was dismissed because he couldn’t do real work, and the leader made me responsible for that church’s work. After I took that on, Sister Xue Ming told me about problems with the church leader and the watering deacon, “The watering deacon is always irresponsible and perfunctory in her duty. She hasn’t watered the newcomers she’s responsible for in over 20 days. Some of them have listened to hearsay and left the faith. The church leader is always busy with her day job and rarely gathers with the others or follows up on work. Brothers and sisters have warned her and fellowshipped with her, but she won’t listen. Also, she’s aware that the watering deacon doesn’t do real work and should be dismissed, but not only does she not dismiss her, she even takes her side and defends her. So they are false leader and worker who don’t do actual work and have already delayed church work.” After listening to Xue Ming’s report, I thought, “In light of their behavior, these two should be dismissed. But electing new leaders and workers is no easy task. If I dismiss them both and we can’t elect suitable replacements for a while, won’t I have to handle this church’s work? My energy is limited, so no matter how pressing it is, I have to take it one step at a time.” Seeing that I wasn’t responding, Xue Ming said anxiously, “If false leaders and workers aren’t promptly dismissed, it’ll compromise both the church’s work and brothers’ and sisters’ life entry. Don’t you feel any urgency? Doesn’t it matter to you? You can’t be like the preacher before who didn’t do real work.” I felt my face burning after hearing this barrage of criticism, and I thought, “I’ve just gotten here, there’s still a lot I don’t understand. I can’t bite off more than I can chew. I’ve got to take this work one step at a time. Anyway, I didn’t say I wouldn’t handle this.” Later on, I realized my state was wrong, so I quickly prayed to God, “God, this situation I faced today was permitted by You, but I keep making excuses for myself. I know that this isn’t in line with Your intention. Please guide me to submit, so that I might reflect and learn from this.” After praying, I recalled a passage of God’s word. God says: “At present, there are some who carry no burdens for the church. These people are slack and sloppy, and only care about their own flesh. Such people are extremely selfish, and they are also blind. If you cannot see this matter clearly, you will not carry any burden. The more mindful you are of God’s will, the greater the burden He will entrust to you. The selfish are unwilling to suffer such things; they are unwilling to pay the price, and, as a result, they will miss opportunities to be perfected by God. Are they not doing themselves harm? If you are someone who is mindful of God’s will, then you will develop a true burden for the church. In fact, instead of calling this a burden you bear for the church, it would be better to call it a burden you bear for your own life’s sake, because the purpose of this burden you develop for the church is to have you use such experiences to be perfected by God. Therefore, whoever carries the greatest burden for the church, whoever carries a burden for life entry—they will be the ones who are perfected by God. Have you seen this clearly? If the church you are with is scattered like sand, but you are neither worried nor anxious, and you even turn a blind eye when your brothers and sisters are not normally eating and drinking of God’s words, then you are not carrying any burdens. Such people are not the kind in whom God delights. The kind of people in whom God delights hunger and thirst for righteousness and are mindful of God’s will(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Be Mindful of God’s Will in Order to Attain Perfection). Thinking over God’s word filled me with shame. Hadn’t I been neither worried nor anxious about the church’s work? When I heard Xue Ming’s report about the leader’s and the watering deacon’s problems, I didn’t consider the church’s work and didn’t quickly dismiss the false leader and the false worker. Instead, I considered my fleshly interests first, worried that once I dismissed them, replacements would have been elected. I’d have to worry and expend energy on that, and my workload would increase. To save myself from paying a price and physical hardship, I felt no urgency to dismiss them, even though I knew they were false ones. In essence, I was covertly shielding and indulging them, letting them run amok in the church and disrupt the church’s work. Xue Ming pruning me for not treating my duty with urgency was a helpful warning to me. It enabled me to quickly reflect on and know my corrupt disposition and repent to God. If false leaders and workers were kept on in the church, there’s no knowing how great the losses to the church’s work would be. I also realized that I’d been heeding my flesh on the previous occasion too. My failure to replace a false leader promptly hindered the church’s work. Wasn’t I making the same mistake? Wanting to save myself physical hardship, I didn’t think about the church’s work at all or about the losses caused to the brothers’ and sisters’ life entry. I wasn’t doing real work either, I was behaving like a false leader. My attitude toward my duty truly disgusted God. If I hadn’t been pruned, I wouldn’t have known to reflect on myself. Realizing these things, I said a silent prayer to God, saying I wanted to repent and do my duty well. The next day, I went to the church with Xue Ming. After investigating, I confirmed that the leader and the watering deacon were indeed not doing real work. They held the same views as nonbelievers, over-analyzing people and things, and didn’t accept the truth. They were a false leader and worker. They were dismissed soon after that, and replacements for them were selected.

After all that, I wondered, “Why is it that whenever I find false leaders and workers in the church who don’t do real work, I don’t replace them promptly? What exactly is causing this?” Later on, I read a passage of God’s word: “Until people have experienced God’s work and understood the truth, it is Satan’s nature that takes charge and dominates them from within. What, specifically, does that nature entail? For example, why are you selfish? Why do you protect your own position? Why do you have such strong feelings? Why do you enjoy those unrighteous things? Why do you like those evils? What is the basis for your fondness for such things? Where do these things come from? Why are you so happy to accept them? By now, you have all come to understand that the main reason behind all these things is that Satan’s poison is within man. So what is Satan’s poison? How can it be expressed? For example, if you ask, ‘How should people live? What should people live for?’ people will answer, ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ This single phrase expresses the very root of the problem. Satan’s philosophy and logic have become people’s lives. No matter what people pursue, they do so for themselves—and so they live only for themselves. ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’—this is the life philosophy of man, and it also represents human nature. These words have already become the nature of corrupt mankind and they are the true portrait of corrupt mankind’s satanic nature. This satanic nature has already become the basis for corrupt mankind’s existence. For several thousand years, corrupt mankind has lived by this venom of Satan, right up to the present day(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Walk the Path of Peter). Thinking over God’s word made it clear to me that I wasn’t dismissing false leaders and workers primarily because I was selfish and lazy. Whatever I was doing, I just wanted to take it easy and not suffer or pay a price. “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” and “Drink today’s wine today, and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow” are Satan’s philosophies I lived by. I only considered my own benefits and craved physical comfort. I wasn’t considering the church’s work at all. On these two recent occasions of dismissing false leaders and workers, I was well aware that they didn’t do real work and should be dismissed promptly, but I kept worrying that we wouldn’t be able to pick suitable replacements for a while. Then I’d have to worry more about these churches’ work, not to mention the physical toll. I was already over 60 and my health wasn’t great. If I pushed myself too much, I’d be in for a hard time. So to give my body a break and save myself some hardship, I begrudgingly kept them on and didn’t hurry to replace them. I felt that with them supporting the work of these churches, I could worry and suffer less. I saw that I was only considering my fleshly interests in my duty, and that to heed my flesh, I was covertly shielding and protecting false leaders and workers, indulging them as they continued to disturb the work of the church. I wasn’t doing my duty; I was doing evil! I used to always worry about my age, that my body wouldn’t be able to cope with a heavy workload. But really, I was just making excuses to be irresponsible and disregard God’s intention. God says: “God does not give people a load too heavy for them to bear. If you can carry one hundred pounds, God certainly will not give you a load heavier than one hundred pounds. He will not put pressure on you. This is how God is with everyone. And you will not be controlled by anything—any person or any thought and view. You are free(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. What It Means to Pursue the Truth (15)). Though my health was poor and sometimes I got a little tired as soon as work got busy, I was able to cope with these things. My responsibilities were well within my capabilities. As long as I managed my time reasonably and cooperated lots with the others, I could physically cope with the workload. I used to think that way mainly because I was lazy and heeding my flesh too much, which made me averse to pressure, hardship, and paying a price in my duty. I thought about when God had Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses was already 80 years old, but he didn’t say he was too old and refuse God’s commission because he was worried about the physical strain. On the contrary, he answered God’s call and was able to fulfill God’s commission as God required to the best of his abilities. In the end, he led the Israelites out of Egypt. Some of the other brothers and sisters were pretty much the same age as me, and some were even older than me, and they took on great workloads. They still put their all into their duties just as they always had, and I’d never seen anyone truly exhausted because of their duties. Weren’t they experiencing greater hardship and suffering than me? But as for me, I was using my old age and poor health as excuses not to dismiss these false leaders and workers, preferring to keep them in the church, delaying work and the brothers’ and sisters’ life entry. I was truly selfish and despicable. In fact, God knew my age and the duties I was capable of, and whether I was worn out was in God’s hands. As a church leader, I had to do my duties according to principles at all times, and protect the church’s work. However my health was, I should always submit to God’s arrangements. Only this was the reason a created being should possess. Understanding God’s intention and requirements, I only wanted to practice the truth, rebel against my flesh, and do my duty well.

After this, I continued to reflect. When I found false leaders and workers, why did I keep using them and not rush to dismiss them? Thinking it over, I found that I had a mistaken view. I’d thought that dismissing false leaders and workers and electing other people to take on their work would be difficult. If I kept them on for a while, they’d at least be able to work on general affairs, which was better than not having anyone. A sister sent me a passage of God’s word that relates to this problem and it made things a lot clearer to me. Almighty God says: “False leaders do not do real work, and are incapable of doing real work. Their caliber is poor, their eyes and heart are blind, they are incapable of discovering problems, and cannot see through various kinds of people, so they are unable to undertake the important work of promoting and cultivating various types of talent. Thus, they have no way to do the work of the church well, and they also create many difficulties for God’s chosen people in their life entry. Considering these factors, it is clear that false leaders are unfit to be church leaders. There are other false leaders who do no specific work of the church and do not make contact with the people in charge of specific work, so they do not know which talented individuals are qualified for what work, nor which are suited to what work, nor whether their working accords with the principles. They are thus unable to promote and cultivate people of talent. How, then, could such a person do the work of the church well? The main reason that false leaders cannot do real work is that their caliber is poor; they have no insight into anything and do not know what real work is. This leads to frequent states of stagnation or paralysis in the work of the church. These are directly related to the false leaders’ failure to do real work. For the past several years, the house of God has stressed, over and over, that evil people and disbelievers must be cleared out and the false leaders and false workers dismissed. Why must the various evil people and disbelievers be cleared out? Because after years of believing in God, these people still do not accept the truth at all, and are now beyond hope of salvation. And why must all false leaders and false workers be dismissed? Because they do not do real work, and never promote or cultivate those who pursue the truth; instead, they just do useless labor, causing the work of the church to be thrown into chaos and paralysis, with existing problems being allowed to linger on, unresolved. This slows the life entry of God’s chosen ones. If all these false leaders and workers are dismissed, and the evil people and disbelievers who disturb the church are cleared out, the work of the church will naturally come to flow more smoothly, and the life of the church will naturally grow much better. God’s chosen ones will be able to eat and drink the words of God and do their duty normally, and to set foot on the right track of faith in God. This is what God would like to see(The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers (5)). From God’s word I saw that false leaders and workers do not and cannot do real work. Even if you’re forced to keep them on, the costs outweigh the gains. Not only are they unable to protect church work, they can only disrupt and disturb it. With Li Ying’s dismissal, I worried that if I dismissed this false leader, electing a good replacement would take time, which could delay work. I thought that by keeping her on for the time being, at least she could prop up the work, which was better than nobody being there. Thanks to God’s word and the facts revealing this matter, I finally saw that this view was not only mistaken, but it was absurd, wrong, and not in line with the truth at all. Once they are found, false leaders and workers should be dismissed promptly and a suitable replacement should be elected to take on the work as soon as possible. Even if a replacement can’t be elected, training somebody is much better than keeping a false leader. This is protecting the church’s work. I couldn’t see this clearly before. I had thought that keeping those false leaders would let me share some work and relax a little. Now I saw that doing so not only hadn’t saved me trouble, but had left me more tired and busy than before, for there were always many deviations and flaws in their work. In the end, lots of problems still had to be handled. It wasn’t until they were replaced that the churches’ work gradually improved. Also, my requirements and standards for leaders had been too high. I thought that leaders should be able to work as soon as they were elected, so I never felt like there were suitable candidates, and put off replacing those false leaders. But really, as long as a person pursues the truth, has right intentions, is a right person, and has sufficient caliber, they can be nurtured. It doesn’t matter if they’re new to the faith or haven’t been a leader before, for this kind of person can easily gain the Holy Spirit’s work if they pursue the truth, and continue to progress in their duties. Realizing these things, my mistaken view of “a false leader is better than no leader” was thoroughly rectified.

Later, the brothers and sisters of a church reported that a leader named Liu Li wasn’t doing real work, that she was a false leader. They wanted me to dismiss her as soon as possible. I thought to myself, “This church is already short on deacons and leaders, and I need to dismiss someone else? Won’t I have to worry about electing more people? Also, another church will still need yet a leader, which is in itself a lot of work. If I dismiss Liu Li, won’t that increase my workload?” I wanted to consider my flesh again, but then I realized my state was wrong. I quickly prayed to God, “Oh Almighty God! Each time I have to dismiss a leader, I consider my flesh. I am unable to consider Your intention or protect the church’s work. God, please give me the strength to rebel against my flesh, practice the truth, and satisfy You.” After praying, I recalled that God’s word says: “For all who perform a duty, no matter how profound or shallow their understanding of the truth is, the simplest way to practice entering into the truth reality is to think of the interests of God’s house in everything, and to let go of one’s selfish desires, personal intents, motives, pride, and status. Put the interests of God’s house first—this is the least one should do. If a person who performs a duty cannot even do this much, then how can they be said to be performing their duty? That is not performing one’s duty(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). God’s word made me understand that when my personal interests conflict with the church’s work, I should set my personal interests aside and put the church’s work first. I should consider God’s intention first and promptly dismiss false leaders. Only this aligns with God’s intention. So I started by fellowshipping with Liu Li, exposing and dissecting the essence and serious consequences of her not doing real work. But a while later, I saw that she still hadn’t changed at all, so I dismissed her according to principles. I also fellowshipped with the others and we elected a new leader. When I acted in line with God’s requirements, not only did I not feel worn out, but instead, I felt at ease and at peace instead. Being able to improve and enter in this way is all thanks to the guidance of God’s word. Thank God!

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