The 4 Dragons of Ministry
By Roger Fields
There are 4 dragons of ministry. They can kill you spiritually. Here’s how it happens.
You start off with the joy of being a new believer. God’s grace is abundant and you feel it. Jesus is alive in you. You hear God’s voice within you. You are free, forgiven, alive.
In your enthusiasm you want to do anything and everything you can for God. You want to serve, be involved in church. The door opens for you to go to the seminary or maybe you ease right into ministry at your local church. Either way, the path is clear. Full steam ahead.
And it’s great. You get paid to do what you love: serving in the church.
Flash forward twenty years…or just five.
Ministry is now a job. It feels more like a career choice than a calling. There are obligations, deadlines, disgruntled people, pressures to produce, disruptions in relationships, financial obstacles and more. Something changed. How did it happen?
Here are the four dragons of ministry.
I am guilty of everything I am about to describe.
DRAGON OF IDENTITY
ONE: You begin to let your position in ministry define you. This dragon causes you to misunderstand who you are.
Instead of thinking of yourself as God’s child, you start thinking of yourself as Children’s Pastor or Family Minister or Student Minister or Lead Pastor or (you fill in the blank). Your ministry job becomes your identity. What you do in service for God becomes more real than your identity in Christ.
DRAGON OF OBLIGATION OVERLOAD
TWO: Your ministry obligations begin to overwhelm your relationship with your Father God. You begin to see God as your employer instead of your Father. You begin to relate to Him as your boss who has farm chores. You make the same mistake both sons made in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, you see your Heavenly Father as your taskmaster, not your Father.
DRAGON OF PRIORITY SLIPPAGE
THREE: Your family slowly slips to the background. Little by little your family becomes less important. The immediate challenges of ministry push back on the importance of family relationships. The urgent demands of ministry choke out important family responsibilities.
There is a reason why minister’s kids often grow up wanting nothing to do with God or ministry.
DRAGON OF INSTITUTIONAL SUCCESS
FOUR: You take your eyes off the cross to focus more on institutional success. The success of your ministry becomes way too important. Your sense of self-importance grows…and grows…and grows. You begin to feel like God needs you more than you need Him. Your focus becomes more about what you do for God instead of what He did for you.
Bottom line: The Body of Christ survived before your church or ministry came along and it will survive after you are gone.