When I first started this ministry and blogging series, my plan was to go down the list of temptations one by one and explain how to overcome each temptation.
What I’m beginning to realize is that it’s not as simple as that. If it were, I would have made more progress with my own struggles.
Here’s the mistake I’ve been making: I thought the issues that mess us up in ministry are the same issues that mess us up with our compulsive habits since so many of our blogging problems have to do with habits and emotions.
But they’re not. At least not entirely. Ministry has its own little set of lies. Here are seven of them.
7 Ministry and Blogging Lies that Mess Us Up
1. I need to be successful, and this is what success looks like: “x”.
Because we live in a top-dog-bottom-dog world, we tend to feel that we have to be top dogs to be successful. We’ll take a look at the current view of Christian success and explore whether or not we really want to make that a goal.
2. Ministry is like a business. If I just do x and y, I’ll be successful.
Ministry isn’t a business. It’s an act of love toward others. Sometimes that will look successful in the world’s eyes, and sometimes it won’t. We’ll be talking about the different ways this lie can discourage us and make us feel like failures even though we might be doing exactly what God wants us to do.
3. The most important part of ministry is feeding the poor, making disciples, and/or changing the world.
This is one of those lies that sound like truth. But it’s not. The most important part of ministry is loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:29-30). Unless our ministry springs from a deep relationship with Him, we’ll be in danger of a whole bunch of different problems which I’ll be talking about in future posts.
4. Ministry should be easy and fun – if it’s not, then maybe God doesn’t want me in this ministry.
The problem with this belief is that we so often use it to justify quitting things God doesn’t want us to quit. God might want us to let go of a ministry but not just because it’s difficult. If He felt that way about ministry, He would have let Jonah off the hook (just a little fish humor for you there).
5. I deserve a reward for working so hard.
Although there’s nothing wrong with being rewarded for ministry (1 Corinthians 9:7-14), it’s a lie to feel we have to be rewarded. The Bible is full of examples of believers who never received an earthly reward for their ministry.
6. I need to be perfect if I’m going to be in ministry.
If this were true, none of us would qualify for ministry. Not only does this lie keep us out of ministry, it encourages us to spend so much time trying to be perfect (writing perfect blog posts for example) that we don’t have time to do other things God wants us to do.
7. I shouldn’t have to change.
The Bible is full of instructions from God and others saying, Hey, you guys need to change. This is what I want you to do. The truth is that we should always be willing to change (and actually looking for ways to change) so we can love God and others well.
I’ll try to post on Mondays and Wednesdays with the occasional odd post on Fridays. We’ll still cover the temptations on the list I posted last week but they’ll be woven throughout the study. I’ll also try to post some Bible studies and journal activities as I come up with them.
Next week we’ll get started with the first lie.
5/11/15 Update: If you’d like help renewing your mind about blogging or ministry, check out The Renewing of the Mind Project. It contains the questions I wrote and Bible verses I gathered to help me renew my mind about blogging.
Journal Activity: Think of your own ministry or blog. Record each of the lies you believe and explain how each lie affects your relationship with God, your relationship with others, and/or your peace of mind. Also, what is the truth to each lie?
Question: Have you seen any of these lies at work in your own blogging career or ministry? Can you think of any lies I missed?
God has been busy speaking to you- great job listening.
Number 3 really hits home for me. Not sure if it’s because of reading ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ so that is what really sticks out. Guess I will find out when I begin journaling.
I have your journal questions already copied down! Ready to start.
I journaled the first two this morning, and it really helped on both a practical and spiritual level to look at the truth to each lie and then at how it affected my relationship with God and others and my peace of mind. I’ve been much more at peace than on a normal posting day. I’m beginning to see that one of my main problems is that I don’t have a biblical view of ministry.
That’s deep. I think many experience the same thing. I know I’m open to having God reveal to me area’s I need to surrender. I’m looking forward to going through this series with you! Thank you for allowing us to go through this journey with you.
Elaine Heyworth Baldwin says
These are a good seven lies to start with. Do you think #2 “Ministry is like a business. If I just do x and y, I’ll be successful” can also have a flip side? I think many ministries fail because they don’t think they have to follow good and even biblical business principles. I wonder if In ministry we think if we just love Jesus and love others then we don’t have to take due diligence (sow seed) whether that be improving our writing craft or handling any legal needs ethically or creating good fiscal business practices, establishing daily “work hours”, etc…
So then when things fall apart and we aren’t “successful” because we haven’t taken due diligence and we just kinda expected God to bless our love and intentions, we say, “Well, God just wants us to stay small or this just must not have been God’s will.” In reality God isn’t going to sidestep His principles of sowing and reaping, hard work, etc… (See Proverbs)
This is probably my biggest struggle in balancing my god-given abilities, education, experience, work ethic, etc… with faith and leaving results up to Him.
I hope that makes sense. I agree ministry is not business, but I don’t think we can throw out “business” and expect any level of “success.”
Just my 2 cents.
Thanks for prying open these lies, so we can experience God’s hand of blessing and impact His kingdom.
Yes, definitely, Elaine. I’m glad you brought that up – if ministry is an act of love then part of that act of love is learning the skills we need to learn so we can do ministry well. Practical skills like writing, developing a platform, maintaining a church budget, etc can all help to further our main goal of loving God and others well.
Ngina Otiende says
I love #2 Barb (and all others too). I thinks its so easy to get lost in the ‘platform’ (business) building part that we lose sight of the main thing. It’s something that i must keep working on – the world’s idea of success and God’s are very different and i need to constantly watch and stay in balance.
Ministry is NOT business – i should stick that somewhere!
Me too! For me it was #1, 2, 5, and 6 – I did the journal activity and that was pretty eye opening. I had a lot more peace today than I normally do on a blog posting day. Gives me hope that I won’t struggle with these issues forever!
Ngina Otiende says
Barb, This is sooo good. I attended a blogging workshop earlier this year and came home with a long list of things I needed to “do” to be successful. Thanks to friends, my dh, and prayer I realized that I don’t blog to be “successful,” I blog because I love the Lord. It’s His to do with as He pleases. Besides #3, #4 really hit me. I am a Sanguine motivated by fun. So, when I’m not having fun I can easily talk myself out of remaining persistent. It’s just not about me. In the end that’s what I MUST remember. Blessings!!
The exact thing I need to remember, Deb. I’m a sanguine too, and my life used to revolve around fun – and I don’t consider writing fun! But I’m excited about what God is teaching me about ministry – funny I never studied those passages in the Bible on ministry until I started writing this blogging series even though I’ve been doing ministry for six YEARS!!!!! I guess it’s about time to read what the Bible has to say about it, huh? I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned because it’s already changing my attitude.
Dan Black on Leadership says
I really like point #3. If we love God with all of our self then the other stuff comes easy or at least easier. Keep writing great content Barb.
So true, Dan. I’ve noticed that if I’m loving God first than I don’t care so much what else happens – which makes life easier and more enjoyable.
Loren Pinilis says
I think #4 sticks out to me. I’ve seen so many people just think that God’s work isn’t going to be hard work, but that’s not true at all. It’s hard, grueling, and painful – but joyous!