Christian pastors are known for their kindness, care for their congregations and inspirational faith messages. While goodness is expected from these coveted individuals, controversy and scandal, even among men and women of faith, isn’t infrequent.
Infidelity, drug and substance abuse, monetary mismanagement — the list goes on. Unfortunately, famous and infamous cases have exposed the sometimes-improper activities participated in by religious leaders. (it is, of course, important to know that the vast majority of faith leaders do not engage in such violations).
On Charisma News, J. Lee Grady published a piece offering advice for ministers and faith leaders. “If you aspire to ministry, don’t be stupid,” he wrote in the lede, going out to highlight 10 “pitfalls” that should be avoided. Grady encouraged pastors to “avoid spiritual stupidity” and to make good and Godly choices.
While some of the items he highlighted seem like common sense, the frequency with which faith leaders fail to comply makes each relevant and worth sharing. So, here they are:
1. Take illegal drugs. I know people who never got complete deliverance from their drug habit—and then when the pressures of ministry grew intense they turned to illegal substances to escape. That’s stupid! If you aren’t in control of your actions 100 percent of the time, you have no business in the ministry.
2. Reject accountability. The Lone Ranger may have been a great comic book hero, but isolation doesn’t work in real life. Lack of accountability is stupid! If you don’t answer to people smarter than you, you are an accident waiting to happen—and you’re going to hurt God’s people. You have no right to be in authority if you are not under authority.
3. Beat or abuse your wife. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:7 that God will not listen to your prayers if you mistreat your wife. If you are an abuser (and even if you are a master at hiding your sin from others), the Lord will oppose you until you seek help.
4. Surround yourself with adoring fans. Years ago, fallen PTL founder Jim Bakker said his biggest mistake was planting “yes men” around him instead of people who had the guts to challenge his bad decisions. If you aren’t willing to invite input—including criticism—from your followers, you are a weak leader headed for disaster.
5. Fabricate spiritual gifts to impress others. In our movement there’s a lot of pressure to produce the sensational in order to keep people entertained. But if you stoop so low as to fake a healing, conjure up a false prophecy or push someone to the floor, the Holy Spirit will step aside and let you run the sideshow without His power. It’s stupid to mix strange fire and risk offending God!
Read the remaining five reasons over at Charisma News.
The image of the church is property of Shutterstock.com.