Updated: May 29, 2019
By Ben Hunnicutt
Ministry is hard. Making disciples is a long process that is wrought with failure and setbacks. You may experience lengthy seasons without seeing any fruit. When the going gets tough, you may be tempted to throw in the towel. Don't worry, you're not alone in this. We've worked with disciple-makers all around the world and have pinpointed three counterproductive habits into which people in ministry commonly fall. And we're here to help you work through them.
We cheat on diets. We cheat on workouts. It can happen in ministry too. If we can't seem to reach the bar that we've set, sometimes we simply decide to lower it. You might say, “I'll just meet 5 people who don't know Jesus this week instead of 10.” Making attainable goals is extremely important, but if we keep lowering the bar, we'll never reach the goals we set in the first place.
What if it's too late to even set the bar lower? Maybe it's been a month and you haven't done any of the things you committed to. You didn't make half of the phone calls or meetings you meant to make. Here is where many of us decide to fabricate results. No one likes looking bad or letting people down. However, it doesn't matter how good you look if behind the scenes you aren't actually following through on God's call.
Maybe it's because of the self-shame of cheating on our own goals, or pretending about getting them done. The third common pitfall we see is people isolating. The Enemy loves it when we disconnect—it's in this slippery slope that we get discouraged and even question our purpose or identity. However, when you feel like isolating is actually when you need community and accountability the most.
What can you do instead?
Want to learn about what you should do instead when you can't see progress in ministry? Listen to Paul Watson and Rebecca Ewing in their recent episode of our CDM Podcast entitled, “When You Aren't Making Progress (Part 1)” that you can listen to for free on iTunes or Desktop PC and Android.
To listen to Part 2 and the rest of our premium content, support us for $5 a month on our Patreon page and gain access to the exclusive second part of the podcast entitled, “When You Aren't Making Progress (Part 2)” which goes in-depth about how you can problem-solve to push through when you can't see fruit.