What are some of the reasons that preacher’s lose the motivation and half quit over the years of ministry? Yesterday I pondered the issues of church battle scars, spiritual warfare fatigue and emotional drain. Let me finish the list now, although this is only intended to start us thinking. What would you add?
4. Physical Weariness – A preaching ministry is not a natural vocation in which to be physically fit. Sitting, reading, thinking, praying. We would do well to be good stewards – watching what goes in, watching how much or how little we do, etc. Over time there are also the challenges of physical ill health, not always related to fitness. Preparing to preach with a tired body and foggy mind is hard, and we’ll be increasingly tempted to just do “enough.”
5. Seasons Without “Success” – There are seasons of ministry that just feel like a hard slog. Every inch gained feels like it took it out of us. People can seem unusually unresponsive. Hearts can seem extremely hardened all around. Somehow our ministry seems to be like a slog through mud, and we don’t know why. These seasons can really take the wind out of our sails.
6. Seasons With “Success” – The opposite is also true. Seasons of unusually responsive people can lead to us being drained and somehow weakened. Like Elijah we can come from great success into great inner turmoil and struggle. We need to watch out for the good times that we always pray for during the tough times – neither are easy to navigate well!
7. Distracted Heart – This could and should be a post on its own. How easily our hearts get distracted! The list of potential other loves that could draw us from our devotion to Christ is probably endless. Hobbies. Power. Illicit fantasy. Pursuit of fame. The love of money. The only One who can search and know the state of our heart is the One before whom we must keep our hearts forever open.