Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions 10 Difficult Truths About Ministry I Wish I Knew When I Started

10 Difficult Truths About Ministry I Wish I Knew When I Started

Here’s what I wish I knew when I got into ministry. If any church, anywhere, baptizes someone, every church wins. If your ministry helps people experience Jesus, every church wins. Why? You’re not primarily building your church. You’re primarily building THE church. And the church is larger than your physical location. The church is every man and woman gathered in every city, state and country across the world.

Rejoice with other pastors when they convert people to Jesus. Can you imagine what might happen if every church stopped competing against other churches and started competing against Satan?

6.) You’re ultimately not serving the church, you’re serving Jesus. 

It wasn’t until I suffered two huge wounds at the hands of Christians that God awakened me to this truth. As a pastor, you’re not working for the church. You’re working for Jesus. If you make the church more important than Jesus, cynicism and negativity will destroy you.

People will hurt you. They will let you down. But Jesus will never disappoint you. He’s the perfect boss. Wake up every day and work for him. This will free you to love people, regardless of the words they speak or the actions they take. It will free you to make hard decisions and say what needs to be said.

7.) The gospel transforms lives. Don’t get derailed by “churchy issues.” 

Early in ministry, I spent too much time debating “churchy issues.” Is baptism essential for salvation? Which worship style brings people to Jesus? Which denomination has the most correct doctrines? And, sadly, much of what I considered discipleship was really convincing people what to believe about certain issues.

I mean this sincerely and honestly … to those people discipled by the “issue-driven Frank,” I’m sorry. I led you to believe the proper stance on a particular issue was as important as the only reason for your salvation … Jesus Christ.

The gospel is most important (1 Cor. 15:1-3). It’s the only thing that matters. “Churchy issues” are most church leaders’ attempt to elevate their own prideful ego. It’s a manipulation and control tactic. That was my goal.

And I’m sorry.

I want you to know today that it’s all about Jesus. It’s always been all about Jesus. If you have Jesus, nothing else matters. If you don’t have Jesus, nothing else matters. He’s the source of eternal life. He’s the reason you have hope. He’s the source of every good thing.

If every person at your church knows the right verses about baptism, worship style or the Lord’s Supper, but they don’t know Jesus, you aren’t winning. The ultimate question, the only question, is, “Do the people you’re leading know Jesus?”

8.) Disciple those in your church ministry well. Disciple your family better. Disciple yourself best.  

What good is it if you gain the whole world but lose your soul and your family? Too often these are sacrificed on the altar of church ministry. I believe family is your second most important ministry, behind your ministry to yourself. This isn’t to say family comes before church ministry. It’s not an either/or thing. It’s both/and. You lead your ministries well and your family well. Don’t choose one or the other. Don’t excel in one at the expense of the other.

I believe there’s a hierarchy of discipleship that leads to a fruitful ministry. You must start by discipling yourself well. You must then disciple your family well. If you disciple yourself and your family well, your church ministry stands a much greater chance of producing fruit. If you put church ministry above self-ministry or family ministry, trust me, everything starts falling apart.