An online magazine for pastors and church leaders.

There?s a reason that pride is considered one of the 7 deadly sins.?When pride is in play, things can get ugly. It doesn?t matter if you are the senior pastor or a small group leader, a?technical artist or a band member, pride can destroy?whatever good is happening at your church.

I think pride is one of those things that can be difficult to see in yourself, but easy to see in others?which is a classic version of he who is without sin, cast the first stone and worry about the log in your own eye, dude.

So what do we do about it? If I can?t really see it?in myself, how can I get rid?of it??It will take some work, but look around you at the culture?and see how people respond to you (or don?t respond to you).

Here are a few telltale signs that pride is at work in you or in your organization.

An ?us versus them? culture creates chaotic services.

Having been a tech person most of my life, I would say that I lived the majority of it in an ?us versus them? mentality. In the world of Sunday morning, it can be easy for the good of the service to trump everything else. It can trump process?and it can trump people.[quote]It can be easy for the good of the service to trump everything else.[/quote]

In the hierarchy of the church, the worship leader is typically the boss of the tech person. Two types of people that couldn?t be more different or have opposing views on pretty much any situation. Yet, for the service to function at its best, we need to work together.

From whichever side of this you live on, the real challenge is to not think that your viewpoint is better or more right than the other person?s. They are two sides of the same coin. They are both necessary to accomplish the goal, yet on the surface they seem opposed to each other. ?Without this knowledge, and by thinking that your way is best/correct, you will be fostering an adversarial environment.

If you ask most everyone involved in pulling off church services, they all want the same thing: a great service where God has the opportunity to move in the hearts of the people there. So?just because someone looks at the same problem from a different viewpoint than you doesn?t mean they are wrong and you?are right. It means there are multiple factors that go into each service, and you?only have the lock on one perspective.

If pride is at work in your culture, you will see an ?us versus them? dynamic.

If you know it all, why would I tell you my opinion?

Nobody likes a know-it-all. I have one in my life right now, and after a few interactions of being interrupted and told that ?I know?, I really don?t want to talk to that person again. As you?re in brainstorming sessions or debriefing a service, do people share their thoughts or is there silence around the room? Are people afraid to give their opinion because they are just going to get shot down?[quote]Are people afraid to give their opinion because they are just going to get shot down?[/quote]

If developing good services is the whole point of why we?re involved in?the local church in the first place, shouldn?t we have an open, collaborative process?to accomplish that? When trying to come up with the best ideas, shouldn?t we be open to all ideas? But if you are always right, or your ideas are always the best, people will stop coming to the table with their ideas, and will be less than willing to share their perspective on whether a service was good or not.

Nothing shuts down a team culture more than you always being right. Open your mind up to other people?s ideas. It isn?t about right and wrong, it is about degrees of what?s best. You don?t always know what is best. Include your team. Create an environment where people can feel the safety to share their thoughts?and ideas.[quote]Nothing shuts down a team culture more than you always being right.[/quote]

When it?s all about you, it?s not about others.

I?m making a big assumption that since you?re reading this, you are involved in the local church somewhere. If that?s the case, you must know that Jesus came to?be a servant. He was about people. Other people. When you?ve deluded yourself into thinking that what you think and feel matters more than what other people think and feel, you?re doing the opposite of what Jesus felt was important.

Pride can blind you into thinking that your needs are?the most important?and that?s all there is. If you?re on the creative side, the ideas are the most important. When you?re on the execution?side, the process is the most important.

It is so easy to always only look at things from your perspective. It?s hard not to, because that?s the viewpoint you have. But yours is only one perspective. When you want the mix loud?and you don?t care what the old people say, you aren?t looking at things from the pastor?s perspective, which is that he wants people to be offended by the gospel and not the volume.

At Willow Creek, they talk about having a serving towel over your arm. When you show up to volunteer, it is to serve, not be served. While it is important to create an atmosphere that makes it a great place to serve, that the?needs of the volunteers are considered, at the end of the day, we are there to serve the church.

Being involved in the local church is about serving others, not serving yourself.[quote]Being involved in the local church is about serving others, not serving yourself.[/quote]

The wheels of ministry need greasing.

Willow Creek is a big place, and?for every decision made, it generally requires buy-in from many different groups of people. If all you ever do is look out for yourself or your own ministry, people will start realizing that you only care about yourself?that the needs of others?don?t matter to you.

For things to run smoother, I usually try to help?other people with their plans?when I don?t need anything in return. Eventually I knew that I would need something from them?that I would need their help. Why?not grease the wheels a little so that when I have a plan that needs buy in, there?is a better chance for some?

Maybe this sounds like I?m not being genuine, but by focusing on the needs of others, and by helping to create a serving culture, I?m making it not all about me and my needs, but about the needs of our church.

Ministry is hard work?without having to deal with your pride. Humble yourself. Look to the interests of others.



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One reply on “3 Ways Pride Will Wreck Your Ministry”

This has been on my mind a lot lately and I’m really glad I saw this. I was in a meeting recently where we were trying to decide how the next sermon series was going to look. An hour later the original idea of the person who called the meeting was never changed and while walking back to our office another friend and coworker said well that was a waste of time. I tend to push pretty hard for my ideas and I got to thinking if I was like this person. I looked back and noticed I did push for my idea but near the end I was pushing for someone else’s. So I was pretty happy that I wasn’t fighting just for my idea but someone else’s who had a better idea.
Later that day I was confronted by the person who I was arguing (not in a hostile way) with through the meeting. They were upset that I fought against them throughout the whole thing, but that they can understand “wanting to win and not loose” with their idea. I was taken back. I don’t care if I win or loose. I care who can come up with the best idea. I reminded him that I wasn’t fighting for my idea but someone else’s.
This recent experience has really made me think about what I’m doing and how to prevent having the same mindset as the other person. I’m really greatful for this post and will apply this to my life. It is my hope that we don’t only apply this to work but to every aspect of our lives. Humble ourselves. So simple an idea, but yet something that must be consistently worked on.

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