It struck me funny the first time I heard the phrase. I was speaking with the pastor of a large church. In our conversation he used a term that I had never heard before—Key Man Insurance. What didn’t feel right to me was the notion that a man or woman could be deemed so indispensable as to be designated the “key” person. (without whom the organization would suffer such loss as to require an insurance policy on his life).
Now I knew that big businesses employed such strategies to cover their losses in the unlikely event that the chief executive should die unexpectedly. One insurance company described the need for such insurance this way,
“Protect yourself and your business by insuring this key employee through a key person life insurance contract. Key person insurance is a life insurance policy purchased on the life of the owner of a company or a key individual in your company. The intent of the life insurance policy is to protect the financial success of a company due to the death of that employee.”
Is there such a thing as a ‘Key Man’ in the church? If the church has (as many have in our day) adopted a corporate model and structured the church as a business, then I suppose putting a price on the value of a man or woman’s life make sense. It’s the other implication though that bothers me. It is the notion that any of us is indispensable. If we carry this notion to its conclusion, then the early church should have died out with the Apostles. If you think about it, Peter and James and John and Paul and the others could be seen as Key People. Yet the church grew and continues to grow long after they died.
In the series of messages to follow, I would like to address the subject, Key People at the End of the Age. the phrase, the end of the age may seem to some of you to be a bit dramatic.
Let me begin by saying that Bible makes it clear there will be a period known as the Last Days. Are these the Last Days? No one can say for sure. But are things taking place in our day that were prophesied in conjunction with or leading up to the end of the age? I think a case can be made that yes, there are things taking place in our day that have apocalyptic implications. The word apocalyptic comes from two Greek words which can be translated ‘to take the cover off…’
More on this later. For now, at the outset of this series, I want to ask, “What might it mean to be a Key Person in the Hand of God during consequential, turbulent times such as the period of history in which we find ourselves?”
The Late Francis Schaeffer wrote an important book which was published in 1984. Some of you may have perked up at the mention of 1984. (the title of George Orwell’s apocalyptic prediction of the future) He titled the book The Great Evangelical Disaster. What he predicted in that book has come to pass. Here is how he described it
The Battle We Are In
As evangelical, Bible-believing Christians we have not done well in understanding this. The world spirit of our age rolls on and on claiming to be autonomous and crushing all we cherish in its path. Sixty years ago could we have imagined that unborn children would be killed by the millions here in our own country? Or that we would have no freedom of speech when it comes to speaking of God and biblical truth in public schools? Or that every form of sexual perversion would be promoted by the entertainment media? Or that marriage, raising children, and family life would be the objects of attack? Sadly, we must say that very few Christians have understood the battle that we are in. Very few have taken a strong and courageous stand against the world spirit of this age as it destroys our culture and the Christian ethos that once shaped our country.
But the Scriptures make it clear that we as Bible-believing Christians are locked in a battle of cosmic proportions. It is a life and death struggle over the minds and souls of men for all eternity, but it is equally a life and death struggle over life on this earth.”1
In another essay Schaeffer asks the important question that each of us must be honest enough to face—How then shall we live? Remember that he wrote this book in 1984. Now we not only countenance and abide the wholesale slaughter of babies in the womb, we lightly pass over the news of the sale of their body parts. The journalist who broke this story has himself been charged for having the temerity to do an undercover operation to document Planned Parenthood’s ghoulish practices.
Francis Schaefer was a key person of sorts in his day. He boldly spoke truth to an increasing pagan culture. He wrote, lectured and used the media to try and sound the alarm that the wheels were coming off our culture. In the articles to follow I pray that you and I will somehow get a grasp on the gravity of our situation and address the question Francis Schaeffer asked over thirty years ago. How then shall we live?
Let me conclude with this thought. You are not a key person because of who YOU are but rather…WHOSE you are.
1 Schaeffer, Francis, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Crossway Books, Westchester Illinois, 1984