In the path of the preacher there are many landmines – hidden explosives that can do untold damage to your ministry. Whether you’ve been preaching for a couple of years or for half a century, why not take some time to prayerfully work through this list? If you are on a team why not work through these together and pray for each other? Maybe you could ask your spouse if they sniff any whiff of these in your life?
1. Pride – Preaching involves influence, position, recognition, and respect, not to mention criticism, attack and hurt. Whether it goes well, or not, preachers are always going to need to navigate pride in their ministry. This can start to manifest in many ways, but any preacher who claims no temptation to pride is probably on the brink of disaster.
2. Prayerlessness – Remember the trepidation when you first entered the pulpit? That is probably long since gone, but has prayer gradually slipped away too? Prayer in preparation, prayer in anticipation of preaching, prayer for those who will hear, prayer for yourself, prayer for other preachers in town, prayer should be central in any preaching ministry, but often it silently slips away as we move on in ministry.
3. Laziness – With experience comes learning and proficiency. Maybe it doesn’t take as much preparation and you know your stuff much better now. So do you preach in some way at the level of years ago and use the spare capacity for self indulgence, or does the benefit of experience and learning lift your ministry to greater heights now?
4. Bitterness – Over the years you will be rejected, attacked, criticised, lied about, and repeatedly disappointed. Have you pushed anger inside toward others for what they’ve done and said? Have you pushed anger inside toward God for not answering prayers as you hoped He would? Bitterness is never obvious in the mirror, but it tends to ooze out so others can smell it. Eventually it will blow.
5. Fatigue – Giving yourself away to others in preaching and pastoral ministry, combined with financial limitations, family struggles, and perhaps poor health can leave you wiped out. Admit it if it is true.
6. Lust – Are you fatigued and vulnerable? Are you successful and vulnerable? Are you struggling in your marriage and vulnerable? Are you lonely and vulnerable? Are you complacent and vulnerable? Somehow you are vulnerable.
7. Fear – Maybe there is a fear lingering in you . . . fear of failure, fear of exposure for your inadequacy or sin, fear of rejection, fear of man, fear of finishing.
What would you add to the list? What landmines have you trodden on, or seen blow up for others?