There are ups and downs in ministry, often from week to week and even day to day. But there is another danger too. It is the long term half quit over the years or decades.
Ministry is not automatically rejuvenating. Over the years we can find our motivation and attitudes wearing down. What can cause this? Here are some factors to get us started, a list of seven:
1. Church Battle Scars – Church ministry can be a real battle ground, sometimes out in the open, often under the surface. For some reason people seem to choose the church as their venue for political significance and they can really go after those who have any up-front ministry. Gossip, slander, attack, critique, and so much more. It shouldn’t be, but it too often is.
2. Spiritual Warfare Fatigue – There is a spiritual warfare dimension in ministry. The enemy loves to attack those with any prominence. We should not be unaware of his attacks, and over time we may well feel worn by the experience. There are times when stepping out of the ministry feels genuinely tempting. The half-quit is the more acceptable option that too many fall into.
3. Emotional Drain – Someone said that preaching is the closest thing men come to giving birth. I’ve been at a few births and I wouldn’t want to push the analogy, but there is something to it. We give of ourselves in preaching, and then again, and then again. It can be emotionally draining to pray so intently, hope so absurdly, preach so intensely and then go at it again. Over time the drain can leave us functioning in second gear through the whole process.
I will finish the list tomorrow…