bits from bob....
Dangers in Ministry
by Bob Young
©, 2006, Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]
Gospel preachers face many dangers and challenges.
- A. Ministry is never an easy task. Despite the jokes that some well-meaning member may make about the one-hour-per-week or
one-day-per-week job, those who have observed ministry up-close know that it is seldom easy, often discouraging.
- B. Because others are watching, and because we serve God and represent God in our world, we must always strive to excel. The only
kind of authentic ministry is the ministry in which ministers seek to "do their best."
- C. There is no place for complacency or satisfaction in ministry. There is no place for mediocrity. Ministry is never done. Always there
are tasks undone, visits unmade, studies not completed.
- A. There is the danger of forgetting our real calling. We may become distracted and neglect the task and work to which God has called
- 1. Remember that the calling of the minister is not primarily from the local congregation. Our calling is from God. We may
enter agreements with local congregations, but I am not more of a preacher when a congregation is pleased, and I am not less of a
preacher when no congregation calls. God is the one who calls ministers.
- 2. Ministers must strive to avoid the menial, trivial minor things. It is easy to spend almost all of one's time on the periphery of genuine
ministry, taking care of things tangential. This does not mean that such things are beneath the minister and that such are never done.
Rather, my point is that we are called to serve God in activities that allow the word of God and the call of the Kingdom to penetrate the
lives of those we touch.
- 3. Another way of saying this is: Do the major thing. Am I doing what needs to be done? Establish priorities. Keep those priorities.
Commit yourself to the reading and study of the Word. Make certain that the Word of God is changing your own life, so that you can
help others be changed by it.
- 4. Proclaim the word. In addition, facilitate the proclamation of the word. Help others learn how to share the word of God. Proclaim in
life and in word. Learn effective proclamation. Continue to develop your preaching skills and biblical foundations throughout your
- B. It is easy to fall into the dangerous trap of demeaning adequate training.
- 1. Many are willing to just get by. Some are indolent, lazy mentally, too relaxed, slothful in study. Poor study and preparation habits will
- 2. Be prepared. I mean by this that the minister must seek to be prepared for the task of ministry which comes day after day. I mean
also that the minister must commit to adequate training and lifelong learning.
- 3. Never forget that true scholarship is based in the word of God. A person who does not know the word of God cannot be a biblical
scholar. One may know a great deal about a lot of things, but until the word of God is a part of that knowledge base, the minister is
incapable of building the necessary bridge to connect the Bible to the world in which people live.
- 4. A related danger in the matter of preparation and study is the danger of theological sloppiness. When one fails in careful exegesis,
interpretation, and application, the challenges of liberalism, postmodernism, and humanism are more difficult. The antidote to the siren
songs of the contemporary world is careful study and theological awareness. The minister is called to be a practical theologian. Be
practical; know the Word of God and use the tools available to understand it and help others apply it.
- C. Be aware of the danger of forgetting the past.
- 1. Many younger preachers tend to depreciate past efforts. It is easy to forget that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone
before. We are building on their foundations, despite their inadequacies and understandings.
- 2. Respect older preachers and past generations. Effective ministers minister cross-generationally. Learn to value the advice of those
who have already trod the road. Sit down and listen to those wonderful saints in the congregation who understand the Bible because they
have lived it in all its power and majesty.
- D. The danger of the world is ever present. The effective minister must carefully chart a course in the world, but not of the world. Two
dangers are especially challenging.
- 1. The danger of saving others and losing one's own family.
- 2. The danger of worldliness and materialism.
*Developed in part from notes from Olden Cook
Go to Articles Index
Last updated November 7, 2006