Let’s face it, if you’re doing effective ministry, the devil hates it. In fact, he hates YOU. Leaders have a whole gang of enemies they must face in order to keep moving forward. It’s not an easy job and there are perils around every corner.
If the enemy can’t get you to throw in the towel, he’ll find ways of rendering you fruitless. Oftentimes leaders aren’t even aware of their impotence until it’s too late. It’s a subtle, crafty tactic for sure but highly effective. I wrote in an earlier post about The Deadly Duo of pride and insecurity. Today I’d like to expose a few more of these nasties. I call them the Toxic Trio.
Self Preservation – The enemy of vision. When times seem lean, the temptation is to program to keep people comfortable and coming back. Instead of taking risks, and dreaming big, we filter our decisions to keep the money happy. Afraid of losing people (and finances and favor), we start thinking inward instead of reaching outward. This is downright deadly because we forfeit the future when we stop having faith.
Routine – The enemy of innovation. Don’t get me wrong. Some routine is good. The problem arises when we elevate our routine to a place that robs us of opportunity. For example, we skip a great training opportunity because it falls on sermon prep day or during the time when we normally do hospital visitation.
We also have a tendency to lather, rinse, and repeat our programming long past the expiration date. Listen to those around you when they start suggesting new ideas. It usually means your program is losing it’s impact, even if it is still fun for you to do.
Control – The enemy of empowering leadership. This one is huge and really deserves its own post. We really like to be in control and some leaders like to make sure everyone knows they’re in control. They ignore suggestions, hold on to roles they should have let go of a long time ago, and obsess over certain tasks for fear they won’t get done right.
Controlling leaders may get what they want, but before long they’re getting it alone. This demoralizing style of leadership usually drives away a lot of quality team members.
Have you ever seen yourself tackling one of these toxic traits? I know I have, many times. What’s a leader to do? Well, rather than giving you the old 1, 2, 3 bullet points, I just have one word for you, “TRUST“.
It’s important that we learn to trust God when times are tough. Keep dreaming, don’t sink inward. Believe that where God guides, He provides. Trust that He’ll help to redeem the time when we step out of the routine to grow and try new things. You were made to grow, not simply maintain. Trust your team to do their best when they take a project. If God put you together, He really did know what He was doing. Trusting those serving with you empowers them and helps them to grow. That’s worth the risk of a job not getting done right any day!
“those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.” – Psalm 34:10b