Ministry Idolatry

A couple years ago, I wrote an article (based on my book, American Idols) entitled "A Pastor's Idols." It has appeared (here) on this blog. So I was all the more interested and impressed by this post from Pete Wilson's blog, Without Wax:
I think most people get into ministry for the right reasons. Our motives are pure but over time we easily become seduced into playing games which feed ego.

Power
Performance
Praise
Perfectionism

All become these mini god’s which promise us increased satisfaction and purpose but leave us feeling unsatisfied and empty.

John Ortberg recently wrote a fantastic article for Christianity Today where he ended with the following questions. He labeled the series of questions the “Idol Quotient Test.” While this is geared toward people in ministry I think you can easily adapt each question to your current situation.

—Where does my sense of security come from—from God or from how my church is doing?

—After a worship service, do I find myself grateful that God is God and feeling joyful that I get to live in his care? Or, if I’m honest, are my emotions dictated more by how many bodies were in the room?

—Do I spend more time thinking about God, or thinking about how to make my church/ministry do better?

—How do I feel when the prospect for more prizes in the church tournament—recognition, praise, reputation, applause—get taken away from me?

—Does my sense of identity flow more out of my relationship with God or out of my performance at church?

—How much do I sacrifice to know God better versus how much do I sacrifice for my church to work better?


Idols are persistent things. They are weeds. Their growing season knows no end. And they can really derail a pastor, a ministry, a church--a life.

"Dear children, keep yourselves from idols" (1 John 5:21).

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