Common Leadership Traps

I recently read an article by Rick Warren called, Seven Errors to Avoid if You Want Your Ministry to Last. The title got my attention, and as usual, Rick hit the nail squarely on the head. Rick wrote, “A lot of ministries begin with a bang, then explode with new growth. But after the initial growth, they plateau. I have heard this repeated, not hundreds, but thousands of times from pastors I’ve talked with over the years. I’ve seen this happen with women’s ministries, men’s ministries, small-group ministries, children’s, singles’, on and on – that they have an initial growth spurt, then stop.  When a ministry plateaus, God is telling you that you’ve reached the limit of what he’s empowered you to do by yourself.”

Warren reminded those of us who are leaders that “God doesn’t want our ministries to stagnate. Not only does he want them to succeed, but he also wants us to succeed as ministry leaders. To help us achieve this goal, God has given us examples of errors to avoid – seven common traps of leadership – that Satan is most likely to use to keep your ministry from becoming all that God wants it to be.”

Seven Common Leadership Traps

  • You stop growing. It’s significant to me that this is first on the list. We MUST continue to be transformed into the image of Christ. This transformation happens as we continue to grow spiritually. We should read and reread the Bible. Live it. Meditate upon it. Share it. Digest it. We should also learn from others by attending conferences, downloading podcasts, reading books, surfing blogs, scanning periodicals and articles, pursuing a new degree–whatever it takes to keep striding towards spiritual maturity.
  • You stop caring. If a leader that stays in love with Jesus will more likely love the things and people Jesus loves. A leader should maintain proper balance and rest in their lives or they may experience ministerial “burnout”.
  • You stop listening. Warren reminds us that we should “learn to listen and be sensitive to others. Encourage the people you serve in ministry to talk to you. Let them tell you about their problems, their troubles, their fears, their aspirations, their dreams, and their hurts. Be open to suggestions and constructive criticism and look for other perspectives.”
  • You get distracted. “Many things can distract you from ministry. Personal or health problems can distract you. Competing interests can distract you. Finances can distract you. Things that you think are fun and good and wonderful can distract you….God wants us to stay focused. Never forget your mission. The Bible says, ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’ (Luke 9:62 KJV) Stay focused. Don’t get distracted.” (Warren)
  • You get complacent. We should never become complacent. If God is in it, we should go for it! We should dream often and dream big. We should take risks and attempt things that cannot be done unless God intervenes.
  • You become arrogant. God will not tolerate arrogance and pride. Show me a leader with arrogance and I will show you a person who has lost the full blessing of the Lord.
  • You fail to delegate. We should strive to involve others in ministry. We should do our part, but we should striive to also give ministry away, so others can experience the joy of serving Jesus.

Warren closed his article with this advice, “If you avoid these seven traps, you’ll go a long way towards building a ministry that lasts.”

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