We must never forget that every Christian
is in spiritual warfare, and leaders are especially susceptible to the attack of
the wicked one. The ministry is filled with many battles and many blessings,
but the only possible way to avoid struggle is to give up. If the devil can
sideline a preacher, he will often destroy the ranks that follow. You may
protest, “I’m not a fighter.” But you must gird yourself, arm yourself, and
prepare yourself for the battles that are ahead. Failure to prepare almost certainly
There are a host of reasons for a preacher quitting, but most fall into five specific categories:
Most fundamental Baptist preachers with whom I am familiar are hard workers. However, no one is immune from the sin of laziness. Preachers can become tired of holding standards high and give in to the new progressive tendencies of the day. The work of God requires the power of God. When it seems there is an easier way, it may tempt a young preacher to follow an unbiblical pattern—seeking greater success with less effort.
The ministry is physically tiring. Many times I have reached a point of exhaustion and yet, like Gideon’s band, I have gone on “faint, yet pursuing.” A strong work ethic is necessary to do the work of God. In addition, we may become tired of our members’ murmuring and whining. Moses was an amazing man to continue on in the wilderness while his followers continually murmured against him and God. Preachers and preacher’s wives must have thick skin, because if we are not careful we can be overcome by a complaining crowd.
2. False Doctrine
The early church was almost immediately faced with false doctrine and heresy. We would be naive to think we are exempt from this pitfall. Often the most dangerous lies are the teachings that are closest to truth, yet are not the truth. The great tragedy of heresy is that it divides good people and it nullifies the efforts of furthering the Gospel. Young men who observe the struggles of their leaders can easily seek a better way and this attitude leaves them susceptible to compromise and heresy. Recently a young man confessed that he was influenced to join the hyper-Calvinist position because he no longer had to be burdened for his lost community. Every man must be on guard lest we be deceived by false doctrine.
3. Moral Impropriety
Almost weekly I hear the sad news of another preacher who has fallen prey to adultery or another matter of impurity. Today’s society is filled with mine fields of danger. Every man must place safeguards in his life to protect himself from dangerous situations. A preacher must make himself accountable to his wife, his church, and other godly men. The internet often is at the heart of many failures and it is imperative to set up a filter that cannot be circumvented (I use www.cleaninter.net). Protect yourself against even the appearance of evil.
Godly men must learn to live by faith, but we must also learn to follow biblical principles of finance. Often our downfall is a result of poor money management. We must learn to be frugal and wise. Set up a personal budget and follow it. Preachers must learn to concentrate on the work of God and trust Him to reward our faithfulness. Very often, God performs a miracle to meet our needs, but we should not be deterred from obeying regardless of financial remuneration.
Why would we think more highly of ourselves when, in reality, we are nothing without the Lord? It is a privilege to serve the Lord and it is only by grace that this is possible. Let’s not look to others and compare ourselves with them, but rather let’s seek to give our best to the Lord and leave the results with Him.
Most of the time preachers quit because of something in one of the five areas we have mentioned. The following poem has been an encouragement to me not to quit.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit—
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.—Author Unknown