Avoiding Leadership Traps

2013 Resurgence Conference

In this 64-minute session from the 2013 Resurgence Conference, Rick Warren addresses the three great temptations of ministry, giving strategies for fighting those temptations and seeking God's glory through your ministry. Rick is Pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA and is author of the worldwide bestseller, Purpose Driven Life.

Satan uses the same 3 temptations over and over again:
  1. Lust of the Flesh
    The temptation to feel. "I want to feel good."
  2. Lust of the Eyes
    The temptation to have—greed, passion, possession. "I see it and I want it."
  3. Pride of Life
    The temptation to be loved, known, famous, envied, worshipped. "I want other people to thing that I'm better than them."

Which of these three do you find yourself particularly tempted by? What strategies do you employ to protect your heart?
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Rick explained that in ministry, you are most susceptible to temptations after a high moment (after a sermon, successful community event, etc.). Have you found this to be the case? How does being aware of your susceptibility to temptation in these times help you prepare?
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The 3 Great Temptations of Ministry:
  1. You will be tempted to use the gifts God has given you for your own pleasures.
  2. You will be tempted to compromise your message for the benefit of material possessions.
  3. You will be tempted to "show-off," to do the spectacular for your own glory.

Think through these three temptations. How have you personally experienced them? What devastation, whether personally or in someone else, have you witnessed as a result of falling into one of these temptations?
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Rick gave 3 antidotes to the great temptations of ministry.
  1. Integrity
  2. Generosity
  3. Humility

Rick noted that integrity means much more than honesty. It means wholeness. Are you the same person around everyone that you meet? How do you avoid compartmentalizing your life?
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The Titanic myth says that "I can take on a little water and not sink." Are there small segments of your life and ministry where you have allowed sin to take root? What steps can you take to keep yourself from allowing secret sin from having a place in your life?
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Rick and his wife made a decision to become more generous every year of their life. What decisions have you and your spouse made regarding generosity? Are there places the Lord is calling you to grow in generosity?
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What keeps you humble? How do you maintain an honesty about your weaknesses with yourself, your family, and those you lead?
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Life in Christian ministry is a life that seeks to be used by God. As Rick said early in his message, "God is looking for people to use, and if you get usable, He will wear you out." Being usable means being a person of character. However, character comes at a high cost. It means facing temptations, and seeing God as more appealing than that which appeals to our flesh, our eyes, and our pride. Live by faith, confident in the ministry God has called you to, and the person He has called you to be in Christ.

For more information about the Resurgence Conference, or information on how to attend next year's event, visit their website.