There are many ways a person can murder one’s own ministry. Sometimes ministers self-destruct by unwise choices and decisions. Ministers who serve on a staff at a church can kill a perfectly good ministry through foolish words and actions. Sometimes such choices result in a minister being “fired” or “let go” from a church. Yet, in some situations one might self-destruct and yet continue to stay in the same role for years.
A minister can get intoxicated by his own sense of self-importance.
This person can begin to believe that since he is retweeted regularly on Twitter or invited to speak at out of state events, that he is important and unlike the ordinary people. This is the person who might place in his own biography, “He is a highly sought after speaker.” Really?
A minister can regularly function by asking for forgiveness from others rather than asking their permission.
Do what you want to do knowing that later if you appear to be contrite, you will be forgiven. After all, this person reasons, it is far easier to get forgiveness than go through the process of getting permission. Of course, this person might never use the word “manipulation” to describe such may never be used. Yet, this is manipulation.
A minister can become focused on money for his own gain.
This minister may move to a different church primarily due to a larger salary. Or, this minister might keep score as he learns about the salaries of other ministers. The problem is not money per se. There is certainly nothing wrong with trying to support your family. However, one can become totally focused on financial gain.
A minister can give himself permission to do what is apparently wrong for everyone else to do.
Through rationalization and self-justification, this minister may give himself permission to think too much about a particular woman in the church or community. Instead of protecting his marriage, he seems to be playing with fire. He pridefully rationalizes, “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not even tempted.”
Yet, instead of dealing with the temptation, he seems to be getting as close as he dare. Then one day he says, “I never thought this would happen to me.”
A minster can self-destruct in relationships with elders.
A younger minister would do well to find out why ministers sometimes have difficulty in their relationships with elders. In fact, this person might become a student of such relationships. What are ministers doing in churches where these relationships seem to work well? Are they doing something intentional or do they just have a good group of elders?
A minister can be a taker instead of a giver.
You know the givers. These are the generous people. They consider how they might encourage and help others. Then, there are the takers. These are the ministers who seem to always concerned about who gets the credit. They want to position themselves to be able to be seen by any large urban congregation that might be looking for a preacher. As one guy said to me, “I’ve got to keep my resume up to date. I’m ok with the church I’m with but I want to be ready in case one of the large churches has an open position.” When ministers model “taking” as a legitimate form of ministry, they are modeling before the church anything but servant leadership.