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6 Sets of Contrasting Ministry Mistakes I’ve Made

ministry mistakes

I’ve made a lot of ministry mistakes in 40+ years—and some that almost seem contradictory to others. Here are some of those mistakes. I hope my honesty will encourage you if you’ve made the same ministry mistakes.

6 Set of Contrasting Ministry Mistakes I’ve Made

  1. Leading too quickly toward change when the church wasn’t ready. I saw the need for change but failed to help them see it before I acted on it.
  2. Moving too slowly in change when the church was waiting. Other leaders knew what we needed to do, but I wasn’t ready to pull the trigger. They were right.

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  1. Spending too little time in sermon preparation. Sometimes, it was just easier to study a little, “wing it,” and hope the congregation wouldn’t know.
  2. Spending too much time in sermon preparation. This hasn’t happened often, but I’ve sometimes prepared like I was doing a PhD oral defense and failed to do ministry the rest of the week.

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  1. Doing evangelism but no equipping. The result was baby believers in my congregation who never grew.
  2. Doing equipping but no evangelism. In those cases, I was acting more like a professor than as a pastor-evangelist.

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  1. Seeking to avoid conflict at all costs. I don’t like conflict, and I’ve sometimes tried to be a peacemaker while avoiding speaking needed truth.
  2. Inviting conflict as the “crusader for truth.” That happened much more during my early days of ministry, when I tried to show the backbone of a young preacher in his 20’s by proving everybody else wrong.

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  1. Sharing too little about my own struggles. I’ve been known to battle alone—which is not the best way to fight spiritual battles.
  2. Sharing too much about my struggles. It’s a fine line between honest vulnerability and unwise disclosure (at least with the wrong persons).

——–

  1. Telling my wife more than she wanted to know. I hadn’t yet learned her preferences at the time, but I’ve learned since then.
  2. Not keeping my wife informed. She may not want to know everything I know, but she definitely wants to know prayer concerns, scheduled events, etc.

——–

  1. Leaving a church too soon. It probably wasn’t time for me to leave, but I was tired and frustrated.
  2. Staying in a church too long. This issue proved even more problematic than leaving too soon.

 

This article on ministry mistakes originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

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Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on Twitter @Clawlessjr and on at facebook.com/CLawless.