At the risk of being provocative, I’d like to ask you a question. Assuming you’re not reading this out loud, no one else will know your answer, so be honest with yourself. What role does ego play in your ministry?
You may be thinking, “I don’t have a big ego. I devote my life to the Lord and helping others.” There are, of course, rock star ministry leaders out there, who are in it for recognition and fame. But, in my experience, these big-ego driven types are few and far between. What’s far more common than a big ego in ministry circles is a self-protecting one.
Does any of this sound familiar?
- I have to maintain a façade that all is well, even when I’m hurting.
- I can’t talk to anyone about my needs because I’m supposed to have it all together.
- I can’t admit my fears because God is supposed to be enough.
- I have to keep up the appearance of a perfect family, ministry and life.
It does to me.
So, what happens when a ministry leader’s marriage is in trouble, when they can’t pay their bills, when they’re stressed or battling depression? More often than not, we concede to the constant and palpable pressure to “present well”, and hide the problem. But, when we are not truly in a peaceful, content place in our lives, it’s a lie to pretend that we are. And lies never help to advance the Kingdom of God.
As ministry leaders, we need to cultivate a culture of truth and be willing to share our struggles and vulnerabilities with others.
If we set ourselves up as being perfect, the message to a fallen world is that they have to be perfect to be found acceptable. Only by being real with others, can we demonstrate that the hurt, the broken and the sinful can find freedom and salvation in the Lord—and can even be used by Him.
So, let’s begin by admitting we’re not perfect. Let’s delve into our real struggles and needs, and let’s honestly work through those issues together. Because being real with ourselves and others is how we will truly succeed in the ministry we were called to do.
- Preventing Failure in Ministry by Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffmann
- A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards
- Whiter Than Snow by Paul David Tripp