Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Confident-man-mistakes-smallIt’s easy to tell whether a person is giving an excuse. Whether you’re a teacher, a parent or a leader, we’ve all heard excuses from other people that don’t quite add up.

While determining the validity of someone else’s excuse is fairly black and white, it’s not so easy when it comes to the excuses we give ourselves. Oftentimes we give ourselves a lot more slack with our own excuses. It’s taken me years to realize that the excuses I often find “acceptable” can possibly destroy the influence, leadership potential and personal growth I want to accomplish.

Here are three of the most common acceptable excuses I’ve found myself giving over the past few years. But I have recently realized the danger of using them:

1. "I’m busy." How often do we tell ourselves we’re too busy to start a new task or even tell others how crazy life is right now when they ask? About a year ago, I realized I had been using the excuse of busyness for too long. Here’s what I learned: Busyness is so relative. I know “busy” people who live at home, work 20 hours a week and play 30 hours of Xbox.

If you’re truly busy making important things happen that is one thing. However, if you feel a little guilty after reading this one, you might not be as busy as you think you are.

2. "I’ve always done it this way." Over the past few years, I’ve realized there were quite a few principles I’ve heard or even learned myself over the years that have likely hurt my ministry more than helped it. Just because we’ve always done church or ministry a certain way doesn’t mean it is right. In fact, I've previously shared how unlearning is essential for growth. If you want to grow into becoming a better leader, employee, husband, father or friend, you need to stop accepting the fact that you’ve always done something a certain way as an excuse.

3. "I can’t learn anything from them." We don’t often associate ourselves with certain people or reach out to make new connections because we surround ourselves with people who are likeminded. We think we can’t learn anything from people who are different. Not true. This is especially true in the church. How often do we find ourselves disassociating with a person because he or she quotes a certain author too much? Or speaks of a certain topic too much? Or doesn’t like the music we prefer? Shying away from people who are different only kills your potential to gain influence and grow.

If we want to succeed, we must identify whether or not these excuses for our choices, decisions and preferences are actually acceptable.

How do you determine whether an excuse is acceptable or not? What are some other acceptable excuses we’re guilty of believing?

With more than a dozen years of local church ministry, Justin Lathrop has spent the last several years starting businesses and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the kingdom. He is the founder of (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and, all while staying involved in the local church. Justin serves as a consultant in the area of strategic relations predominantly working with the Assemblies of God, helping to build bridges with people and ministries to more effectively reach more people. His blog can be found at

For the original article, visit

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Some of the toughest lessons reap the greatest rewards.

    10 Tough Lessons Every Pastor Should Remember in Ground-Shaking Trials

    One is that your suffering may turn out to be the highest compliment the Father ever gave you.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders