The reason many of us ignore the formation of our character, says Johnson, is because it will slow us down. Many ministry leaders want success, a big church, or a crowd. But how many of us want a real life? How many of us want a life in God? We can have that, Johnson believes. We can have a character that produces love, peace, patience, kindness…but it will slow us down. It might mean the church won’t grow as big as quickly. It might mean the crowd will get smaller.
But the alternative is both devastating and all too common. The alternative is a ministry of high impact but shallow character. As only Johnson could say it, “In the bible it was a miracle when God spoke through an ass. Now it happens everyday.” Translation: God is speaking powerfully through many pastors, but their characters show nothing of God’s life. These leaders, along with their anger, pride, bitterness, and cynicism, are tolerated by many churches because they are able to “fill the room.” Their powerful spiritual gifts, like Samson’s, deflect the flaws of their characters.