1. The Misuse of Money Many leaders are careless in the handling of finances, both in their personal lives and ministry. Greed can sway sound judgment, leading to sin and eventual downfall. Too often God's resources have been diverted to personal use. Clothes donated to the poor have been taken by those handling them. Pastor's salaries have been supplemented from funds for evangelism. I really hope that God will protect me against this. In my career, I have had the ability to make above average money, and I do not want that to hinder what God wants to do through. It will be so easy to turn things that are wants and put them in the category of needs. I love this quote from Francis Chan; "We need to be less concerned with our standard of living and more concerned with other people actually living."
2. The Abuse of Power There is a tendency for leaders to wield power over followers beyond its intended use and to view special privileges as their personal right. Their leadership style is more reflective of a "chief" than a "shepherd." Rather than empowering followers for service, they lead for their own personal benefit. Usually these leaders have no accountability system. They stand at great risk. This is another area that can be any man/woman's downfall. Being only 25 and in leadership is very dangerous if I do not have the right people around me to lead and guide me through this.
3. Pride Success in ministry can pave the way for inappropriate pride to develop within a leader. Self-centeredness can set in, leading to poor decisions and ungodly behavior. We do well to heed James' counsel, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." (Jas. 4:l0) Of everything on this list, I think that this is what I am most prone to. Since I got to college, I just about had success in every area of my life. Sports, Career, Ministry, Family, etc. This is dangerous because at times I consider my success "MY" success. I forget that without the grace of God, nothing is possible. he had gifted me in certain areas, but without his gifts and continued hand on me, I am nothing.
4. Sexual Misconduct Illicit sexual relationships have been a powerful tool in the enemy's hands against God's leaders. David's sin with Bathsheba has been repeated countless times in our generation, with no less devastating effects. Sexual sin has absolutely destroyed some of our best Christian men. Personally, I am not naive enough to think that I will not be tempted in this area. I tell Beth often, that the goal is not to "not Cheat"; that's a bad goal. "The goal is to never even allow myself to be in a possible position where being unfaithful is something that is a remote possibility." I refuse to allow my life and ministry to be destroyed because I cannot keep my pants on. Just shooting straight.
5. Family Issues Unresolved conflicts between husband and wife or between parents and children can have repercussions on leadership effectiveness. Leaders such as Eli and David, paid a dear price in leadership due to family problems. 1 Timothy 3 says that what qualifies me and you as a pastor is our homes. If I cannot lead my family, I cannot lead God's flock. If I cannot be a Godly Husband, how am I to lead the husbands? If I cannot be a Godly Dad, how am I to lead the Dads? If I can't make God saturated decisions in my home, how am I to do that in my church?
6. Complacency As a leader becomes complacent in ministry there is often a tendency to relax and rely on the successes of the past. I cannot lead people further than I have gone yourself. I cannot take people (spiritually) where I am not going. There is always work to be done; there is always a deeper measure of Jesus that we need to strive for.
It is important to note that each barrier is deeply rooted in character issues, rather than in lack of ministry skills. Personal integrity lies at the heart of the matter.
Tomorrow I will share what leads people a good finish.