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When Personal Fulfillment Drives Ministry

I was struck by something Ray Ortlund said in a blog post recently:

“I am not impressed by young pastors who seem too eager to publish books and speak at big events and get noticed.”

It’s as if men get in the ministry and treat the first few years like the kid who shoots hoops in his driveway, imagining he is LeBron James. Eventually, he hopes, he’ll get the chance to really wow someone.

The problem is that pastors often use ministry for their own personal fulfillment and success.

Here are a few disastrous results that follow.

1. You turn your congregation into a means to the end of your self-fulfillment.

Rather than serving your congregation for their benefit, you will expect them to benefit you.

2. You become discontent with your current role in ministry, and look for the next step up the pastoral ladder.

After all, you’re so much better than where you are now, right?

3. Your self-esteem becomes the barometer for your ministry.

And anything that negatively affects your self-esteem becomes your enemy in ministry.

4. TED talks influence your philosophy of ministry more than the Bible.

You’ll be more interested in practical effectiveness than a theological foundation.