Thursday, May 8, 2014

Recognizing Ministry Slippage

Where do you serve God using your gifts and talents? As believers in Christ, we are all in ministry. We all should be serving our Lord in a church body or through a ministry organization. Even Jesus Himself "did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45 NIV).

In my early years of full-time ministry, I was listening to a message by one of my favorite Bible teachers, Chuck Swindoll. In his message, he outlined five telltale signs of what he called, "ministry slippage." His message resonated with me for several days.

Most of us begin ministry with our hearts set on serving God and glorifying Him through our work. But life's demands, and the pressures of regular service can slowly etch away at the purity of our devotion to God in our work. We can become self-focused and self-sufficient. If we aren't deliberate about regularly checking our motives and protecting our relationship with our Creator, our resolve to glorify and serve Him (and not ourselves) can begin to slip along our journey.

After hearing Chuck Swindoll's message, I created a note card with those "Five Telltale Signs of Ministry Slippage". I laminated it (Everything seems more official when it is laminated, doesn't it?) and I have kept that card just below my computer monitor for more than ten years. It serves as a constant reminder to me to keep my heart set wholeheartedly on serving Christ. The points help me be keenly aware of any sign that my focus in ministry is getting off track. I even distributed a card to each of the Fruitful Word Ministries' board members, asking them to watch for any signs of ministry slippage at Fruitful Word.

With permission, I'd like to share the "Five TellTale Signs of Ministry Slippage" outlined by Chuck Swindoll. Will you join me in printing the list and keeping it in a place where you will see it often? If you lead a group in ministry, would you consider distributing them to your leaders?

Five Telltale Signs of Ministry Slippage
By Chuck Swindoll

  1. When greater battles are fought within than without, the ministry has begun to slip.
  2. When more attention is directed to the leader than to the Lord, a monument is being built.
  3. When God's help is nice, but not absolutely essential for survival, ministry is slipping.
  4. When worthwhile reproofs are resisted rather than received, ministry is slipping.
  5. When the consequences of sin are ignored rather than feared, you're in deep trouble.
From Chuck Swindoll's Series: Can One Person Make a Difference? Aired April 2003.
Message: "Movement or Monument".

Let's ask God to make us aware of any signs that our focus in ministry is slipping. Let's pray for the courage to make any changes necessary to guard our hearts as we serve Him in our churches and ministries.

How do you do to protect your heart and check your motives as you serve Christ?

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