Over 50 per cent of church leaders leave the ministry. Let’s look at another reason why. They love people, but can’t handle the pressure. We like to talk about the power of the New Testament church, but what about its problems? The church is made up of human beings, and human beings have unresolved issues. The New Testament church had:
(1) Moral problems. One man was sleeping with his stepmother, and nobody in the church seemed particularly upset about it (see 1 Corinthians 5:1–2).
(2) Doctrinal problems. Some Jewish converts thought the Gentile converts needed to be circumcised. The dispute became so heated that it almost split the church down the middle (see Acts 15).
(3) Immaturity and ‘personality-itis’ problems. Paul writes: ‘I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it… For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly?…when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?’ (1 Corinthians 3:1–4 NIV) He goes on to say, ‘Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.’ (2 Timothy 4:10 NKJV) Then he adds, ‘Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil.’ (2 Timothy 4:14 KJV)
If you’re a church leader here’s the bottom line: if you can’t feel the pain, you can’t heal the pain! Hidden in your everyday problems and people pressures, you’ll find the wisdom to minister effectively. So don’t get discouraged—keep going!