Here are some things to avoid as you lead in ministry:
1. Give yourself to cultivating others’ faith but neglect your own.
Our ministry to others ought to flow from our relationship with God. Sooner or later the well runs dry if it does not. Apart from our desire to serve others, though, we ought to desire to enjoy are own relationship with God, completely separate from anything we do for others.
2. Serve in the church as a “professional” instead of a “pastor” (and this doesn’t apply to just those with the “pastor” title).
This follows on from #1. We need to be careful not to get too “corporate” and professional in our approach to ministry. Excellence is always important and a worthy goal, but ministry is messy, plain and simple. Sometimes, in our effort to engage, we bypass those who need.
3. Sacrifice your family on the altar of your ministry.
I love this idea that I first heard from my friend, Jim Wideman. Oh the stories that can be told as a result of this happening. How on earth do we justify neglecting our own spouse and children as we seek to serve others? It is a recipe for disaster, not only for our own lives, but also for theirs.
4. Play communication games instead of being transparent & real.
Sometimes as leaders we play games with communication. We minimize opinions and ideas of others (after all, ours is the best, right?). We redirect or avoid in order to protect ourselves. We withhold or suppress information in order to get across what we want to be heard.
Yes, communication skills are essential to leading and influencing others, but stop the games! Just stop it! It is a quick path to dishonesty and deceit.
See the follow up post: 7 Ways To Build Your Ministry
5. Manipulate instead of influence.
Again, this follows close behind #4. I hate being manipulated, don’t you? Yet I’ve seen it done over and over again in ministry, including by myself at times. This usually comes from our inability to really lead effectively. And if “leadership is influence” (as John Maxwell defines it), then really what comes down to is our inability to influence others, so we try and manipulate them.
6. Care more about your program than you do about your people.
I’ve been part of and seen so many churches where program is king! Do NOT disrupt the program! Whether it’s the plan for the worship service or the agenda for kids’ church, the program rules! This is not right.
Yes, we must plan and act on that plan, but not at the expense of people. When needs of people “interfere” with the program, something is wrong. A good example of this in practice is . . . Jesus.
7. Compare your ministry to anyone else’s.
God did not call me to build a ministry that looks like yours. Nor did He call you to lead a ministry exactly like mine. We can learn principles and apply best practices as we learn from each others, but how much better to be excited about God working and moving in totally unique ministries designed by Him to reach exactly the people He wants to reach in my ministry – not the people down the road!