From Beyond the Pulpit – What the Beatles Could Teach Our Church Leaders

by Dr. Stan Hudson, who served as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for 38 years and is currently the Director of Creation Ministries at the North Pacific Union Conference

There were two huge events in my childhood and youth that I will never forget:  the day my mom told me “Daddy isn’t coming home anymore” (and the divorce followed) and about eight years later, the news that the Beatles broke up!

Both were losses, and I could imagine on a psychologist’s couch it would come out that the latter one was so impactful because of the former one.  Why can’t people stay together?  Why can’t they work things out for the benefit of those who care about them?

In the case of the Beatles, John Lennon never got it.  He would later say to the fans, and I paraphrase, “Hey!  What’s the big deal?  We are each still producing music individually that will sound similar to the Beatles.” But they were not the same apart.  Would John’s anthem to atheism (“Imagine”) have been done with George (a believer in God) present?  Wouldn’t there have been some softening, some blending, some strengthening, some balance?  But we will never know.

Sadly, virtually every great band has broken up.  Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Eagles, America, ABBA, the list is a surprisingly long one.  I saw recently interviews of David Crosby and Graham Nash (who wasn’t MORE for world peace and harmony than Crosby, Stills and Nash?).  They can’t stand each other.  ABBA, arguably one of Europe’s greatest bands ever, was offered one billion dollars to reunite.  That’s billion with a “b!”  Couldn’t stand each other in the studio.

Yet at one time these bands’ members each complimented the skills and talents of their fellows and what they produced corporately was better than what they could do individually.  When the obviously upset Mick Jagger was asked what he thought of the then recent Beatles breakup, he simply exclaimed, “Egos!”

Egos do get in the way.  I’ve always felt musicians tended towards having sensitive ones.  But what can these grand breakups like the Beatles teach us, the Adventist Church? 

I think it’s this:  our highest achievements will take place only as we work together.  We all have sensitive egos that can get in the way.  What was the biggest hindrance of the disciples becoming what Jesus felt they could become while He was with them?  Ah, yes:  the spirit of ”who would be greatest.”  But what did they accomplish when they became of one spirit?  They became accused of “turning the world upside down!” 

Swallow egos, let the Spirit of Almighty God humble us all and let it be us that will turn OUR world upside down. 

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