Accepting the call to full-time ministry is similar to enlisting into the Armed Forces. You are issued a uniform (the armor of God), you experience boot camp (first stage of full-time ministry), you face the enemy (you are a walking target every day), and you will get battle fatigue.
We are soldiers in God's army, advancing His kingdom by resisting the enemy and taking dominion. It is a war, and for so many of us in ministry, we are on the front lines. Most people see our websites, social media outlets and see us on stage, or see the works of compassion with God's love emanating from the platform of doing ministry. It can look glamorous at times.
No matter the type of ministry you do—whether it's large or small, glamorous or not, or if it's in the public eye or not—you are a target for the enemy. The enemy will use various tactics to get you to quit or tempt you in various ways to lead to your demise.
Many of us start in ministry with good intentions and motives: a desire to surrender our life to reach others for Christ. However, our good intentions are met with the enemy's plan to goad us into quitting.
Here are five reasons people quit the ministry:
1. Growing weary in well doing – When you work in full-time ministry, you expend your physical body and your emotions, and you have to replenish yourself spiritually. Many factors can affect your health. You are emotionally involved in what you do and, at times you can feel depleted emotionally from handling other people problems, drama and crisis. Many people think that once one is in full-time ministry they will automatically pray and read the Bible more than before. Not to burst anyone's bubble, but that is not always the case. Because they exert so much helping people, praying for others and preparing sermons, not much time is left for themselves and they may become spiritually depleted.
2. Hearts grow hard – Someone once said "Hate the sin, don't hate the sinner." Ministry can show you the worst sides of people. Like a war, you will see a lot of bloodshed and you may even experience friendly fire. You are in the people business, so people will be good to you some days and backbite on other days. At the end of the day, these are God's people that He has called you to minister to. It's not easy and you must keep your heart soft and be quick to forgive. You will have to fight off offence and resentment, not just with the people you minister to, but the people you work with.
3. Sin – God's grace is sufficient; however if you don't deal with your sin issues when He gives grace to you, they will be made public. This is a reality: We have to be held accountable for the sin in our life, especially when it affects other people. There is no place for pride; it goes before a fall. We must clothe ourselves with humility and ask for help when we need it.
4. Financial crisis – The most difficult thing that hinders ministries are finances. As much as we don't want to see ministry as a business, the reality is if we don't have the money to keep doing what God called us to do, we cannot continue our ministry. Keeping your ministry going takes tremendous faith and you cannot succumb to a spirit of compromise to make it happen. We have to trust God to meet every need. It's His ministry and He is moved by faith, not our need.
5. Divorce – This is a very unfortunate situation for married couples in ministry. Working in ministry can put a lot of strain on marriages. Whether it's burnout, depression, lack of alone time as a couple, finances or disunity, the enemy will come in like a flood and attack the marriage. God wants our marriages to glorify Him; however, there can so much spiritual warfare that attacks individuals and their marriages.
We have to be prepared when we say "yes" to full-time ministry. Ready in prayer, ready in the Word and ready for the battle. Working in ministry is a privilege and it is an honor to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can enjoy the journey, yet we have to be sober and guard our heart every step of the way.
You cannot leave doors open in your life for the enemy to come through. God knows where you are and the struggles you face. He is faithful to get you through.
"Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 5:8, MEV).
Along with her husband, Pastor Luis Reyes, Tricia Reyes is the co-founder of The New Church Of Joy in Waukegan, Illinois. She is a blogger and author and helps manage her daughter Madison's (Maddie Rey) Music Ministry. She is a devoted wife as well as mother to Madison and Matthew and loves the Lord with all her heart! To learn more about Tricia's ministry or to book her for a Women's Event/Conference visit her website at triciareyes.com or thenewchurchofjoy.com.
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