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Pastor, Here’s How NOT to Screw Up Your Life

Dear Elder/Pastor,

I’m concerned about you. I’m concerned about me.

It seems that just about every month I hear stories of elders/pastors who disqualify themselves because of:

Having an emotional affair with a staff member;

Engaging in adultery;

Struggling with various forms of addiction (porn, drugs, alcohol);

Egotistical, pride-filled leadership;


And, spiritual burnout.

As leaders, when we implode and explode, our families, those we serve in the local church and, most importantly, the beautiful Name of Jesus are ravaged.

Why do we implode and explode? And what can we do to not just survive being an elder/pastor, but thrive and embody 1Timothy 3:1-7?

I offer the following advice first and foremost to myself. I offer it not as an expert, but simply as a brother who loves Jesus, loves you and loves the local churches we serve.

Unceasing worship.

Do you remember when you first met Jesus and the wind of His glorious grace swept you off your feet and you couldn’t believe you were forgiven?

Do you remember when Jesus first whispered into your ear, “I love you; you belong to my Papa now”?

Do you remember when following Jesus was not about church attendance, budgets, signing book deals, hiring church staff or polishing your preaching skills?

Do you remember when EVERYTHING was worth less than Jesus? (Philippians 3:7-10)

Elder/pastor, this is where we must abide, in the unfailing, life-giving grace and love of King Jesus. Our ministry is the overflow of His ministry of grace to us. (Ephesians 3:16-21)

We must not buy the lie that we can find greater joy and satisfaction from something or someone more than we can find it in Jesus. He is our supreme pleasure.

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Derwin L. Gray is the founding and Lead Pastor of Transformation Church (www.tc521.org), a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community in Indian Land, South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Transformation Church was recognized as one of the 15 fastest growing churches in America for 2010 by Outreach Magazine. Gray is the author of "Limitless Life: You Are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future" and is a highly sought-after communicator. Connect with Derwin on twitter @Derwinlgray.