If you’ve been in the ministry any length of time, I am sure you have come to understand that it is glorious but sometimes very difficult. This is an across the board experience for both highly successful leaders and not so highly successful leaders. It also doesn’t really matter where you are or how long you’ve been in the ministry, we have all experienced frustration one way or the other.
I certainly don’t think this little post is going to stop all the frustration that ministry can bring – fact is, some of that stuff is very good for you. They come highly recommended. But at least, I think this little post can point out some common mistakes leaders make and shine some light on how to avoid them.
Let’s share with you a few:
It is simply dumb to compare yourself with others
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. (2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV)
Even though the verse is more a rebuke to those leaders who recommend each other by comparing their abilities, spiritual gifts and experiences, it also speaks to the fact that my call is different from your call. We all have different gifts. Your style is different from the leader down the street, so is his. We need to avoid sizing each other up to see who’s got it better than thee other. That is simply dumb. To hope that you were more like the other guy down the street is just a recipe for frustration. You will never be like anyone else – so, be yourself.
Avoid measuring your success by how successful others are and seek to do your best within your sphere of influence
Let such a person understand that what we say by letter when absent, we do when present. But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. (2 Corinthians 10:11, 13 ESV)
We live in a culture that is too obsessed with the idea of “the next big thing, the next big name.” We should avoid putting christian leaders on a pedestal. There is no place in the kingdom of God to look for the next big name – the next Billy Graham, the next David Crowder. That is a bit too carnal for kingdom life. Unfortunately, this kind of lifestyle has corrupted the heart and minds of too many leaders to the point that all they dream about is how they can become the next big name. Safe yourself from the frustration – you will never be the next Billy Graham. Seek to do your best within your sphere of influence.
Celebrate your gift it is not insignificant. It is a big deal
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (1 Corinthians 12:29, 30 ESV)
The body is a very unique example of how important your gift is. There is no such thing as lesser gifts. Stop belittling your gift. celebrate your gift. Love the gift God gave you, not the one you wish you had. See it as significant. Use it and don’t think it is not special. God wouldn’t give it to you if it were not special.
Make peace with the fact that your assignment will not be as visible as that of others
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3 ESV)
The sooner your make peace with this fact, you will save yourself from a lot of frustration. Notoriety does not necessarily mean special. Celebrity status does not mean favor above the rest. You are special and favored right where you are out of the lime light. Don’t let that mess you up.
You may be out of sight, but your are never out of His mind
saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. (Luke 19:30 ESV)
Don’t ever think because you are not well known by everyone your are not known by God. You may not be noticed by anyone or you may serve in a role that is not in the limelight, but never forget that he called you, he knows you, and he knows exactly where you are.
Nothing you do for Him is ever in vain
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)
Jesus made this very clear. A cup of water, a coat for the homeless, company with a prisoner will never be in vain. You will be blessed if not in this life, certainly in the life to come. Your service, sacrifice and sorrow for the kingdom of God will never go unnoticed by the Lord.
He who began a good work in you will bring it perfection
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6 ESV)
I know some days it seems like it would be easier to just let go. Your skies may be dim and gray, but you need to know that your break through is not far away. So hold on, you’ve come too far to give up. Remember that it was the Lord who called you and assigned to the work you are doing now. Let this promise stay fresh in your mind – that he who began a good work in you will bring it to perfection.