Editorial -- By: Richard L. Mayhue
TMSJ 16:1 (Spring 2005) p. 1
The TMS family enjoyed a splendid spring banquet at the Hyatt in Santa Clarita, CA in mid-February. Dr. Donald Whitney, professor of Spiritual Formation at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO and author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, challenged us all with a timely reminder and personal exhortation based on 1 Tim 4:16, “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching.. . .” I want to share the heart of his challenge with our TMSJ readership. Enjoy!
“The Almost Inevitable Ruin of Every Minister. .. and How to Avoid It”1
Almost everyone knows someone who used to be in the ministry. Almost everyone knows someone who shouldn’t be in the ministry. And every minister knows another minister—if not several—he does not want to be like.
But the sad news for ministers is, regardless of your age or education or experience, it is almost inevitable that you will become the kind of minister you do not want to be. So I think it’s important to address the subject of the almost inevitable ruin of every minister. .. and how to avoid it.
Once when a Southern Baptist denominational executive was on the Midwestern Seminary campus in the late 1990s, he asserted that statistics show that for every twenty men who enter the ministry, by the time those men reach age sixty-five, only one will still be in the ministry.
Despite all the commitment with which they began the race, despite all the investment of time and money to prepare, despite the years spent in service, despite the cost of retooling and redirecting their lives, nearly all will leave the ministry. Some will opt out for health reasons. Some will wash out in their private lives. Some will bow out, realizing they had misread the call of God. Some will bail out because the stress is so great. Some will be forced out by their churches. Some will walk out from sheer frustration and a sense of failure. And if you haven’t given serious thought to leaving the ministry, you haven’t been in it very long.
Despite the fact that no one goes into the ministry to be a casualty, the ruin of almost every minister, it seems, is inevitable. For in addition to the high percentage of those who leave the ministry, sometimes it appears that of those who do stay in the ministry, many of them have been ruined in other ways. They may get ruined by money, either by the desire for it or the lack of it. They make far too many choices based upon getting more money, or...
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