Eye Test

15 Misperceptions About Ministry

By Chuck Lawless

Forty-three years ago last month, I began full-time ministry. Looking back, I realize now how many misperceptions I had about ministry then. Here are some of them—without much elaboration, since they’re usually self-explanatory:

  1. Everyone will listen to me when I preach. I know better now. For various reasons, some folks don’t listen.
  2. I can win over anybody in my church. Not always the case.
  3. My evangelistic zeal will never wane. It can, and it sometimes does even for the most evangelistic pastors.
  4. All church members will love their pastor well. Most will, but it’s unlikely everybody will.
  5. Church leaders will not be competitive or jealous. Not always so. Sometimes leaders compete against or envy another leader.
  6. Everybody in America knows the gospel. Some still need to hear. And, even those who may have heard it don’t always understand it.
  7. The louder you preach, the better. Not the case. Volume does not equal preaching ability.
  8. Every church member is a Christian.  Not always. Even among Jesus’ 12 apostles was one fake (Judas).
  9. Nobody whose wedding I officiate will ever divorce. It didn’t take long to learn otherwise.
  10. Ministry is easy. It can be really hard. Wearying, in fact.
  11. Pastors never struggle with prayer. Many of us do, I’m afraid.
  12. The bigger the church, the better. Larger is not always better.
  13. Church people are always forgiving. Actually, some hold grudges for a long time.
  14. Evangelism comes naturally to pastors. For some, “yes”; for many others, “no.”
  15. Ministry is just about preaching. Not so. Sometimes, in fact, it’s tough to find time to prepare sermons because there are so many other things to do.

Pastors, what misperceptions did you have when you started ministry?

This post originally appeared on Chuck’s website.

Published May 9, 2024

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Chuck Lawless

Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with “Church Answers” to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.