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Below is from the Gospel Coalition Blog.  I have been a Senior Pastor for almost 25 years now, and I agree from experience that pride can kill a ministry.

The Pastor’s Worst Enemy

The pastor’s worst enemy is pride, and it is a special danger for young pastors (1 Tim. 3:6).

The Particular Causes of Pride

  • Public gifts. As your gifts are exercised in public (unlike those with more private and unseen gifts and ministries), they are more likely to be recognized, admired, and praised.
  • Official status. As many of God’s people respect and honor the “office” of pastor (sometimes regardless of who fills it), you may be inclined to think it is you they respect and honor.
  • Man-centeredness. When people are blessed under your ministry, they will often attribute it to you rather than to God.
  • Worldly ideas of leadership. You see yourself as “in charge of all these people,” rather than their servant.
  • Inexperience. The Church is quite unique in how it places untested and inexperienced young men into positions of the highest responsibility without going through the “humbling school of hard knocks.” Having never been led, they sometimes do not know how to lead.
  • Misunderstanding of call to the ministry. Paul did not see the pastoral ministry as a prize he had earned. For Paul, it was as much a grace, an unearned gift, as salvation (Eph. 3:8).

The Pastoral Consequences of Pride

If you fall into pride there will be serious consequences in your ministry.

  • You will start depending on your gifts rather than on God.
  • You will become impatient with your less gifted brethren in the ministry or eldership.
  • You will become thoughtlessly insensitive to the traditions and customs of the past.
  • You will resist personal criticism and mature counsel.
  • You will become discouraged and discontented because “I deserve better than this crowd!”
  • You will regard yourself as above the small/dirty jobs in the congregation.
  • You will stop learning because you know more than everyone else anyway.
  • You may fall into the “condemnation of the devil” (1 Tim.3:6).

The Personal Cure of Pride

Let these two phrases be the double heartbeat of our ministries.

1. I am a sinner

  • Remember what I was (think on the sins you’ve been delivered from)
  • Remember what I could be now (if God had not stopped you)
  • Remember what I still am (research your own heart )
  • Remember what I could yet be (if God removed His restraining grace)

2. I am a servant

  • A servant of God (not independent but dependent on God for commission, authority, blessing)
  • A servant of God’s people (not their lord or sovereign)
  • A servant of sinners (do not look down on the unsaved but get down on your knees for them)
  • A servant of servants (don’t compete with other pastors but serve them)
  • A servant of the Servant (who said, “I am among you as one who serves,” and, “the servant is not greater than his Master.”)

Dr. David P. Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Murray blogs regularly at Head, Heart, Hand: Leadership for Servants.

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