Seven Deadly Behaviors of Ministry (Part Three)

coffee25.jpgThis is the third post in this series.  You might enjoy reading part 1 and part 2.

I am suggesting in these posts that there are behaviors ministers can engage in that are deadly to ministry in a church.  I am not suggesting that one might lose a ministry role or "get fired" over these behaviors.  Rather, I am saying that these behaviors rub against the very essence of what Christian ministry is about. 

The following are the remaining two deadly behaviors in this series:

6.  Fail to behave in such a way so that people experience a healthy space in relationships.  At one end of the spectrum, there are some ministers who seem to offer very little if any space in their relationships.  They practically smother people.  If you wish to have relationship with them, you must see things their way.  You need to agree with them or that is interpreted as not being "supportive."   These people are this minister’s supporters.  They don’t question.  They don’t offer alternative proposals.  In this minister’s mind, friendship means that these people are all for whatever he might say.  I recall a minister who one day was being asked several questions about his ministry.  These by no means were hostile questioners.  In fact, some of those asking questions were very good friends with this man.  Finally, it came time for this man to speak.  He said, "Why is everyone against me?"  In his mind, real friendship was to not be asked questions such as these.

At the other end of the spectrum is the minister who creates too much space.  He will allow no one to get near him.  He carefully holds his cards close to his vest.  He communicates to the people: "I really don’t trust you."  Now some may have good reason for this.  When a minister and his family have been severely injured by other Christians, they may be very likely to keep their guard up.  Nevertheless, ministry cannot be sustained when the minister refuses to have significant relationship with anyone.

7.  Feel as if you are entitled to do what you want to do.  "I work hard.  This church doesn’t pay me enough.  After all that I go through, I am entitled to a few things."  Maybe this means looking at a porn site on the Internet.  Perhaps this means watching an "adult" movie in a hotel room while away on a trip.  This could mean feeling as if he is entitled to an emotional affair with someone within the church.  ("After all, I didn’t do anything physical.  It’s not like I killed someone.")

Such a spirit of entitlement not only can lead a person down a very immoral road but it also reveals a spirit of arrogance that places the self above and beyond whatever it is that God desires or wants.

Are there any other behaviors that you would add to this list? 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Seven Deadly Behaviors of Ministry (Part Three)

  1. Jim,Two very good points.  Relationships demand real character for them to flourish.  It takes a sense of security to be able to find that balance between vulnerability and independence.  In my journey I’ve gone from pillar to post with “relationship space” like you mention in point 6.  It’s helped having good friends and a wonderful wife who I can bounce my thoughts off and talk through my frustrations and concerns.  Their commitment to me, and to truth, has been a source of security and protection.  I just wouldn’t have been able to get there without them.  I fear that many ministers just don’t have the kind of safe and affirming relationships that can allow them to let down their guard enough to hear both hard and healing words.

  2. Jim,
    Great post yet again brother.
    I totally agree.
    I hope and pray that those who are beginning ministry will read this blog and put your wisdom into practice.  You are such a blessing to many.
    I pray that God will bless your life and ministry in ways you have never thought before. 
    Have a blessed week brother!

  3. Adam,You express this so well.  I like what you say regarding the need for a balance between independence and vulnerability.  It sounds like you are in a very healthy situation with your friends and wife as a central part of that.  

  4. I stumbled on your blog a few weeks ago and it was indeed like a breath of fresh air. I have been able to look at myself and evaluate myself through things that I already knew, but, hadn’t seen them on paper. Thank you so much for making ministry transparent and open so that we can see right through it.

  5. MIke, I am glad you left this comment. I appreciate your kind words. This blog reflects much of my life’s journey with God as well as my own ministry. I do hope that my own life reflects an openness and transparency. I wish for this no only on this blog but in my daily life “offline” as well. Hope you will comment again.