Seasoned Preachers, Beware

Dangers, Temptations, and Weaknesses


No one truly "arrives" in pastoral ministry. Though it may be easier to identify prominent temptations for young pastors entering into ministry, these still exist for those more seasoned in service to Christ. No one grows beyond the dangers of sin. So what are some of the most common threats for the more matured individuals in ministry? Paul Tripp joins Bryan Chapell and Russell Moore as they reflect on their own experiences to share the greatest dangers for seasoned pastors today.

Paul David Tripp is a pastor, author, international conference speaker, and the president of Paul Tripp Ministries. His many books on Christian Living include Dangerous Calling and Forever: Why You Can't Live Without It. Bryan Chapell is the Senior Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois and former Chancellor of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Russell Moore is President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the author of several books, including Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel


What would you consider the biggest temptations facing those who have been in ministry for an extended period of time? Would you add anything to those described in the video? If so, what?
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Bryan noted the temptation of resting on past achievements rather than pressing forward. Have you experienced this temptation in your own life? If so, how did it affect your ministry? What weaknesses does it create in a pastor? What dangers does it pose for a congregation?
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Russell highlighted the danger of older pastors seeing the younger generation as a threat. How have you observed this in your own life? In the lives of others in the church? What does it reveal in terms of a lack of personal security in Christ? What opportunities are missed for discipling the next generation?
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Paul discussed the danger of familiarity for seasoned ministers, which results in their losing a sense of awe towards God and the gospel. What are some factors that could lead to this state? How do you strive to protect your awe of God and His Word? Who could you invite into your personal struggles with familiarity for prayer and accountability?
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Working in a ministry of sinful people inevitably means experiencing hurt along the way. For many, this leads to self-protectiveness in which pastors keep a certain distance from their people to avoid being further wounded. Have you been hurt during your experience in ministry? How has it affected your interactions with your people? Are there any ways you have withdrawn? If so, what can you do to change this?
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As Bryan said, it is impossible to minister to people well if we refuse to make ourselves vulnerable by loving them deeply. We need to expect pain along the way knowing God is greater than our wounds. How should an expectation of suffering in ministry free you to love your people? What does Christ's example of suffering teach you? What about His model can you emulate in your own pastoral leadership?
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No matter how seasoned, all pastors face certain dangers and temptations. It's important to consider the wisdom of others, hear their stories, and learn from their mistakes along the way. Wherever you find yourself in ministry today, take time to consider the dangers you face. Ask God to help you identify them and trust Him to guide you by His Spirit as you seek to care for those He has called you to shepherd.


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