4 Terrible Relationship Transitions Pastors Make

We relate to lost people, church members, denominational leaders and others in different ways, but we can't avoid relationships and do ministry well. (Pexels)

Ministry is about relationships. We relate to lost people, church members, denominational leaders and others in different ways, but we can't avoid relationships and do ministry well. On the other hand, too many pastors move in the wrong direction in these relationships: 

  1. From deep dependence on God to a dependence on self: We start out depending on God with everything we do—every word we speak in a sermon, every meeting we lead, every counseling session we conduct, every baptism we perform. Over time, though, we've done the work long enough that it all becomes routine. We get used to doing these tasks, and we then turn to God for help only if we must.
  2. From focusing on non-believers to cocooning ourselves among believers: We know from the beginning that evangelism is a central task of ministry, and we long to be used of God to reach a lost world. We want to set the world on fire for Jesus when we start our ministry. The work of ministering to believers, however, consumes our time—so much so that we no longer even know many lost people to reach.
  3. From loving the church to tolerating it: At first, it's hard for us to believe that a local congregation would trust us to be their spiritual leader: We're honored, humbled, blessed and grateful to serve. Then, the difficulties of ministry develop. Over the years, our hearts grow heavy and then hardened. Loving others becomes little more than putting up with them.
  4. From adoring spouses as a helpmate and partner to viewing them as an employee: I've never heard anyone admit it, but I've seen it happen far too often. The spouse once, respected and loved, now becomes the servant who is expected to do what others won't do—including at times the things the pastor doesn't want to do.

If you find yourself in any of these categories, I'm praying that God would help all our readers to overcome these wrong transitions. I ask that you pray for me, too.

Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of Graduate Studies and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

This article originally appeared at chucklawless.com.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders