Some preachers lose their calling and unction because they don’t know how to guard their hearts. They have a problem with women. More than one man in ministry has lost it all because he didn’t stay off the internet and didn’t guard his heart. I have longtime friends from college who are no longer in ministry. They’ve lost their families in the process. They were gifted, talented, and recognized by their peers, but they got their eyes off the Lord and they fell.
I will not take an appointment with a woman unless my office door is open or I have a witness with me. I am to the point where I rarely travel alone. It’s not that I don’t trust myself, but in these days, you are guilty until proven innocent. I don’t think a pastor ought to avoid women, I just think he needs to use his head.
As I’ve thought through what attracts a woman to a minister, I’ve come to several conclusions. After all, most of us aren’t much to look at…so what’s the attraction? One, the power of the pulpit. Women see a pastor who looks like he’s got it all together and they are attracted to him—especially if their husband is a wimp or refuses to be the spiritual leader. Two, he loses when he loses his ministry. His influence in the community is over. His income is probably cut in half, and he’s lost the respect of his peers.
What attracts men to women whom they have no business being with? One, the enemy gets in their heads and says, “You deserve this. You work hard for God, so one little indiscretion won’t hurt. You’re better than most of those folks. God owes this to you. He knows you struggle.” Two, a pastor can be so obsessed with building the church that his home crumbles in the process. Neglecting your wife to build your ministry is dangerous. What if you build a mega-church and lose your ministry, what have you gained?
A third danger is setting yourself up as the perfect man. If you are the subject of all your stories, if you are always preaching on a healthy marriage, chances are, you don’t have one. I served a pastor who preached a message, “How to be a joy to live with.” His children said he was a nightmare to live with.
If a pastor puts himself up as the perfect husband with all the answers, he’s going to be attractive to women. Be real. Your wife has seen you with bed head and bad breath. You’re not that hot. Quit selling yourself and start preaching Jesus.
I find a great model in Jesus and the way he dealt with women. The woman caught in adultery didn’t see Him as another client. The woman at the well who had five husbands and a live-in lover didn’t see Jesus as husband number six. Both were promiscuous. Jesus met them on a spiritual level. Remember when the woman at the well went back to town, she said, “Come see a man…” She could have easily been saying, “Come see a real man…” Our calling is to reveal God and man at their best—that was Jesus. That should be what we are about.
ALWAYS BEING AVAILABLE
Turn your cell phone off. You don’t have to answer every call. You aren’t any good if you are always available. I tell our folks and staff, when I’ve got time set aside for study, don’t bother me unless it’s a life or death situation. If it’s not, the life that might be death may be your own. Jesus said, “Come apart and rest awhile.” If you don’t come apart, you will come apart.
Don’t answer the phone when you are eating supper with your family. We had a policy in our home at dinner time: they can call back. You have little enough time as it is without taking time away from your wife and kids to talk to someone who could have called you during office hours. Get caller ID. Know who to talk to. It’s your phone—control it, don’t let it control you.
Take a day off. The work will be there when you get back. I know it’s Old Testament, but the Lord set aside a tree, a day, and a year for the land to rest. Surely it’s not sinful for you to take a day off and chill out. Play golf. Read something that has nothing to do with ministry. Go see a movie. Take your wife out on a date. You need a change of pace. You can’t burn the candle at both ends and not get burned or burned out.
The ministry is in a sad state. Some of it we can control. Some of it we can’t. Walking in the Spirit, guarding our hearts and understanding time management would go a long way to preserving your ministry and extending your life. Think about it.
2 thoughts on “The Sad State of the Ministry (Part 2)”
Thank you Pastor Catt,very well put indeed. I am torn between castigating the actions of most preachers while at the same time understanding the inherrent humanity that runs deep within them. The moral stand is a tough one,judge not lest you be judged. It is also quite telling that we tend to hold others to very high standards which we would not sustain ourselves. So i will try to be as objective as possible. I immeadiately recall the book “The Trials of Brother Jeroboam” by the Nigerian Playwright Wole Soyinka. A play about a beach prophet who constantly prays for strenght against temptation yet he is plagued by opportunities to make money through corrupt means,is a serial defaulter of debt and his heart desperately tries to fight off the lust he feels for the voluptous girls at the beach.
Many Pastors are reluctant to admit shortcomings or vulnerabilities. I think striving for perfection leaves ministers even more vulnerable to personal struggles. My immediate former pastor viewed himself as highly principled,moral and virtuous. He was too self assured. He used to urge us to emulate him, to have the kind of marriage/wife/kids he had,the financial “success”,the kind of home he had etc. I used to chuckle within when at the end of each year,he would blame our lack of breakthrough/success on “compromizing”. I always used to wonder, isn’t he human? When did he achieve perfection? I thought perfection was impossible to achieve! I wish that kind of pompous hipocrisy was stumped out of church. Ministers who set themselves as being perfect are idealized by those women who are needy and overly flirtatious.
Ever heard the verse “Touch not my annointed”? That is often used to cover a multitude of sins. No one is allowed to question certain things in ministry due to that special amnesty. Doesn’t the bible say that people in ministry will be held to a special standard by virtue of they being overseers of the flock?
Sigh! Pastors today are generally not viewed as moral authorities in their communities. Ministers are no longer blending powerful theologies with transformative ministries in the world. No single pastor is able to give a theological rationale for their actions that people find moving and compelling. The general apathy in ministry could not have come at a worse time,do you know that African countries are now being forced to accept same sex marriages as part of aid conditions? A refusal to do so results in aid being halved,many countries are now opting to do with less. Thank you Pastor Catt for the sound advice you are offering to those in ministry, i hope they take it to heart.
Divided by miles,united in love. God bless you all.
From Africa,with love,
Wise words of warning. These things can become a huge stumbling block for pastors. Thank you again for your insights.