How to Avoid Ministry Pitfalls

There are certain ministry pitfalls to avoid to ensure you are remaining spiritually healthy. Being in ministry of any kind is challenging. It’s so important for leaders to remain spiritually healthy and thrive in Christ!

Why? Leaders are a leader because:

  1. God appointed them
  2. People are following them and they influence them

The two reasons above are both very good reasons to be a thriving leader of God.

Even if you are a parent, you are a leader that ministers to your kids. You influence them. Your influence reaches further than you realize.

What are Some Ministry Pitfalls?

The following list of ministry pitfalls is by no means exhaustive but some problems that I’ve unfortunately fallen into in the past:

  • abusing authority
  • making plans and asking God to bless them (without seeking God first)
  • thinking you don’t need to grow spiritually or examine yourself because you’re in ministry
  • continuing to minister without “filling up” first
  • using the content of what you are ministering on as your sole “daily bread

If you live yielded to God, you won’t find yourself with these issues.

My Ministry Pitfalls

Recently I found myself in a couple of ministry pitfalls. I had just spent the last year and a half reorganizing our On Track children’s class, putting on a conference to cast the new vision, and raising up a talented woman to be the director.

On top of that, I taught their class every week for over a year. Whew! After delegating all the responsibilities to her over those last few weeks I felt empty and unfulfilled.

God called me to the season that lasted 18 months, but when the season ended so did the grace for it. Since something felt like it was missing, I determined to keep going in ministry so everything would be right again.

Do you know what I did? I began searching for another ministry outlet immediately. In those 18 months, I was used to receiving clear direction from God. I enjoyed seeing progress and lives impacted for Jesus. Why not keep going?

But I realized something was wrong. I wasn’t being as effective.

How God Helped Me out of My Ministry Pitfalls

Have you ever heard the analogy about a sponge being squeezed until every last drop is gone? If you are a leader or minister (that includes Christian writers!), it’s better to not “dry out.” We need to go to our Living Water and stay filled—to overflowing! Then, minister out of that overflow.

What do you do when you haven’t done this? Return to the Living Water.

The good thing about the Father is that He shows us where we’re “off.” He gently showed me I was:

  • squeezing out every last drop pouring into others before recharging
  • being fulfilled solely by ministry instead of by a personal relationship with God

He reminded me that I needed to eat from His hand for awhile. Practically that looks like taking some extra time off or apart to not minister for awhile and instead just fill up on God’s goodness.

“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103 KJV

I love that verse. His Living Water and His Word is sweeter than the satisfaction of ministry. Ministering to others is wonderful, but if it takes the place of spending time with Jesus first then we are going to become a dry sponge real quick.

I’ve learned that if I’m going to serve in ministry, I need to avoid ministry pitfalls. I need to walk in the balance of staying filled up on His wonderful Word.

How has your effectiveness been altered by spiritual pitfalls?

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  1. Dear Kelly,
    You have done a wonderful job with this site and blog. I am very proud of you and love you very much! Your articles are inspiring and I am sure will be a help to those who read.

  2. Cynthya Hale says:

    Love the blog. It’s amazing!! I especially love the ministry pitfalls. Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A. writes Ten ways to be an Effective Minister:
    1. Maintain a vibrant relationship with Christ to the very end.
    2. Live with an expectancy of repeated renewal.
    3. Live the truth of God in such a way that his convictions and trust in God’s faithfulness is real.
    4. Maintain a learning posture throughout life and enjoy learning from various sources.
    5. Have multiple mentors.
    6. Have a dynamic, vital, and changing philosophy of ministry.
    7. Minister from a broad perspective of an awareness that whatever occurs in ministry is part of a larger destiny which God has planned for them.
    8. View selection, development and empowerment of leadership among their highest ministry priorities.
    9. View their present ministry from a life-long perspective by which they continue growing in an ever-expanding awareness of God’s destiny for them.
    10. Leave behind one or more ultimate contributions—a lasting legacy.

    1. kellyrbaker says:

      Those are great. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. So timely! One of the pastors I work with just now is embarking on a sabbatical. He needs recharigng…

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