Every year thousands of preachers, pastors, and evangelists leave their calling. It is true-God redirects some men into different locations and fields at various times. On occasion God will close and open the doors of ministry. But others leave with the intent to only go through one final door, and that is the door out in the vestibule.
While ministry is the greatest privilege of a man’s life, it is also difficult-only those who have never been in it will say otherwise. Ministry is full of disappointments, heartaches, mud-slinging (yes, mud-slinging), tears and aggravation. However, much of the difficulty we face is brought on by pride, carelessness, and carnality. If you want to truly miss the mark of ministry and face continual burn-out just involve yourself in these frustrating endeavors:
1. Do it All by Yourself
Moses experienced this problem early on. He wanted to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt one guard at a time. After the exodus, he even placed himself in a position to judge every case, and every issue. Jethro, his father-in-law told him he couldn’t do it and advised Moses to collaborate a team of leaders to help with the pressing issues of the day. Andrew Carnegie said, “No one will will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.” Get some help quick if you are doing it all by yourself!
2. Compare Your Ministry with Others
We have all done it. We look at other ministries and covet their numbers, their programs, and their influence. Most pastors I know are competitive by nature. Such is well and good in sports and adventure, but the difference in ministry is that we are all supposed to be on the same team. Our measure of success should not be other ministries it should be our obedience to the Word of God. Base your ministry upon Scripture and leave the results up to God-He alone gives increase.
3. Expect Immediate Results
A lot of ministers want 20-year results in 20 months. The law of harvest doesn’t work in speed or convenience. We must plod along with consistency and resolve. Too often our expectations are not the expectations of God. I believe in dreaming big, I believe in casting a vision; however, a vision unfolds through the process of time, tears, and tribulation. In his book Spiritual Influence, Mel Lawrenz said, “Instead of asking if our vision is big enough, we should be asking, Is it far enough?”
4. Engage in Gossip
One of the greatest disservices you can do to your ministry, your calling, and your God is to stay in constant chit-chat about pressing issues. There are times we must process problems and analyze aggravations, but not at the expense of nit-picking gossip. Most churches are destroyed by fire- the fire of the tongue. If you want to lose your people’s respect, just stay on the phone talking about everyone that disgruntles you.
5. Quit During Hard Times
If you have been faced with the temptation to quit you are not alone; as a matter of fact, you are in good company. We all face sleepless nights battling the pervasive thoughts of exodus. But we should remember to never make a decision in moments of frustration. Fred Smith said, “The energy needed to retreat might have been just the amount of energy to succeed.”