Soul Hazard: Read this, then pray …
Warning: Ministry Can Be Hazardous to Your Soul
In my book, What They Didn’t Teach You In Seminary, I wrote about something you may have never heard before: Ministry is spiritually hazardous to your soul.
Actually, leadership of any kind has a built-in set of challenges.
Here are some of the reasons why that are ministry-specific, but are easily transferred over to other areas of leadership:
First, it is because you are constantly doing “spiritual” things, and it is easy to confuse those things with actually being spiritual.
For example, you are constantly in the Bible, studying it, in order to prepare a talk. It’s easy to confuse this with reading and studying the Bible devotionally for your own soul.
You are praying — in services, during meetings, at pot lucks — and it is easy to think you are leading a life of personal, private prayer.
You are planning worship, leading worship, attending worship, and it is easy to believe you, yourself, are actually worshipping.
Chances are, you’re not.
When you are in ministry, it is easy to confuse doing things for God with spending time with God; to confuse activity with intimacy; to mistake the trappings of spirituality for being spiritual.
It’s an easy deception. Think about something like the game of golf. I first started playing when I was in graduate school. I took all of two lessons from a course pro, which basically taught me which end of the stick to hold. I bought a cheap set of clubs and began to play. Initially, I made great strides. My score went from the 140s, to the 120s, then the low 100s. Sometimes even the 90s.