I’ve seen a lot ministries self-destruct over the years… pastors, staff members, churches, lay-ministers, etc. This is not a pretty sight and is always unnecessary.
Here are three very common ways you can mess up and sabotage your ministry:
1. Make your ministry your highest priority above everything else. If you do this, something else will suffer – probably your marriage, family time, friendships, and emotional disposition. People who make their ministry the number one priority of their life are out of balance, lose focus, and suffer for it. Instead of sacrificing your spouse/family on the altar of ministry, make your family your number one ministry. Sometimes you have to scale back your ministry (to others) if it is interfering with your God-given obligations to your home.
2. Become territorial. If you are approached by church leadership about restructuring your current pet project, take it personally, resent the leader, and mischievously sow discord among coworkers in your ministry area. This works every time and is guaranteed to ruin your ministry.
I’ve watched this happen many times over the years. We have even experienced it at PCC and always correct it. When territorial attitudes become embedded in a church it is destructive to the big picture and its mission. When people participate in sowing disunity they need to step down from ministry or be removed until they get a grip on the importance of humility. You cannot lead without it.
3. Resent or resist your God-given authority structures. Get it in your mind that nobody is going to stand in your way – your husband, your wife, your pastors, or other church leaders – and if they offer input about your ministry, make them feel your disapproval.
In reality, our God-given authorities and accountability structures are in place for our own good, the good of everyone, and for the good of the church as a whole. Every one of us, myself included, need someone who can tell us when our enthusiasm has run ahead of our good sense. This is hard to swallow when you have a vision for something big. But if you believe God has a hand in directing such delegated authorities, you’ll soon see the safety net they provide for each of us.