The Biggest Threat to Your Ministry

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I asserted the following in my recent ebook, Ziklag: The Christian Leader’s Guide to Defeating Discouragement Even on the Worst Days of Your Life.

I believe that discouragement poses the biggest threat of all to success in ministry.  Most pastors won’t fall to moral failure. Most won’t abandon faith or turn to atheism. Most won’t leave the ministry simply to enter another line of work.

However, many will come under attack of discouragement and find their effectiveness hampered, sometimes severely, because of it. 

I went on to share results from an interesting survey of clergy.

One informal on-line poll of clergy found the following top reasons for discouragement, in order of frequency.

#1. Conflicts/complaining/murmuring. “I find myself physically exhausted at the end of the week just from dealing with naysayers. My problem is exacerbated by naysayers using social media as their outlets.”

#2. Lack of fruit and spiritual maturity in church members. “I invested two years of my life in him. But his life today is as carnal as it was two years ago.”

#3. Apathy. “The low level of commitment of so many of our members really discourages me. Sometimes I wonder if my ministry is making any kind of difference.”

#4. Church members who leave the church for seemingly silly or no reasons. “It breaks my heart to lose a church member just because we made a slight change in the times of worship services.”

#5. Expectations by members/lack of time. “It seems like I am expected to be omnipresent. I just can’t keep up with all the expectations of me.”

#6. Performing tasks where the pastor/staff does not have competencies. “I know nothing about finances. I am not a good administrator. But both functions consume my time.”

#7. Meetings/committees. “I would rather get my teeth drilled than go to our monthly business meetings. It’s nothing more than a forum for complainers and whiners.”

#8. Family concerns. “The attacks on my wife for no good reasons have caused me to get my resume out. I can’t stay any longer.”

#9. Staff issues. “Every day at the church is stressful because of staff conflict.”

#10. Lack of volunteers. “So many church members seek their own preferences, but are unwilling to serve others.”[i]

There may be no better illustration of self-mastery under discouraging circumstances than the story of David at Ziklag. Under circumstances of deep duress, he not only avoided unhelpful and destructive reactions but actually took successful proactive measures that turned around incredibly difficult circumstances.

However, I am not saying it’s easy! If it were, no one would become discouraged to start with.

What about you? Do you agree that discouragement poses a serious challenge to successful ministry?How to you defeat your personal demons of discouragement?

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[i] Retrieved on 4/18/18 from

Dr. Jeannie3 Comments