14 Questions you HAVE to answer before the day is over.

7

January 8, 2013 by eimrick

I had a rough time sleeping last night. A youth pastor in Nashville is being tried for rape of a minor in his youth ministry. Only God knows the whole truth, but I know one thing, I believe that most young college students who aspire to be youth pastors don’t envision this in their future. I talk with young guys all the time. They want to change the world, bring God’s restoration to a lost and broken people, want to marry a woman and raise a child or two who would join them in the journey of what they believe that God has called them to do. No one has ever told me that they want to devastate and hurt a lot of people and ruin a ministry that otherwise could be faithful and fruitful.

drowning

We are all one or two decisions away from ruining our reputation; devastating the ministry that we’re passionate about, hurting the people we love the most so deeply, and most importantly, hurting the very heart of God. When David first innocently saw Bathsheba, he surely didn’t think he would murder her husband. There was a slippery slope that happened very quickly. Every step you and I take has the potential of being that first step down that slippery slope where we lose our footing and grasp at anything to save ourselves.

You and I are a prideful people. We’re in positions of leadership. People look up to you and I and it feels good. But we are also an incredibly vulnerable people. We have power in people’s lives that can be used for harm or for good. Our hearts apart from Christ are wicked and deceitful and we’re people who are in desperate need of God’s grace and mercy.

What happened in Nashville could happen to me. It could happen to you. If we don’t believe that to be true, then we are in a world of trouble.

When I was in Bible College in the mid-90’s, a chapel speaker mentioned that every time one of his college classmates fell into sexual sin (he graduated in the 1970’s), he would write their name in his Bible to see how many people would be left in his life time. That began a trend amongst some of my friends that thought it would be a good idea to do the same. At first what seemed like a good idea later seemed to be one of the biggest obstacles to faithfulness and longevity in ministry. If I know of a friend who takes that approach, why am I going to talk to him about anything that I need help for? If I’m drowning in the ocean with no life preserver, why would I call out to him for help when I see that he simply asks people who are drowning; “where did you get your swimming lessons?” When Pharisees caught a woman in adultery, Jesus asked for one of them who hadn’t sinned to cast the first stone.

What we don’t know though is how to create a community of honesty and vulnerability amongst ourselves as leaders.
Please take 10 minutes to answer these “yes/no” questions.
Do you have a person that you can tell details of your deepest struggle?
Do you have areas of your private life that absolutely NO ONE knows about?
Are you struggling with the cliché answers that you give to people who are struggling?
Are you looked up to in ministry yet your marriage is falling apart?
Are you actively doing things that scare you?
Are you past being scared of the things you’re doing?
Do you justify your actions because they’re not as bad as a lot of people?
Are you actively looking for things to distract you from your present reality?
Are your anxious thoughts continuing to keep you awake at night?
Is there someone in your ministry that you figure out ways to be around all the time?
Are you being vulnerable around this person to win them over?
Is your prayer life suffering because of shame?
Are you in the Word less now than when you began your leadership role?
Are you fearful to confess sin for fear of consequences?

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If you answered YES to any of these 14 questions, I am pleading with you to talk openly with someone who can come alongside of you. Look for a friend. You may not even realize it, but you need help. You may or may not presently be in a volatile situation, but you are extremely vulnerable.
If you answered NO to all of these questions, I am pleading EVEN MORE SO for you to talk openly with someone who can come alongside of you. It is possible that you have blind spots in significant areas of your life that can only be addressed by another person.
Proverbs 16:18
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
God grant us grace and mercy.

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7 thoughts on “14 Questions you HAVE to answer before the day is over.

  1. Austin McCann says:

    Rick,

    Thanks for sharing this. I hate hearing things like this, but my heart breaks for the people involved. Sin is a beast that will conquer the greatest of men if it goes unchecked. Only by God’s grace can we stay faithful and accountable in His ministry. I love this line from your post: “We are all one or two decisions away from ruining our reputation; devastating the ministry that we’re passionate about, hurting the people we love the most so deeply, and most importantly, hurting the very heart of God.” So true.

    Austin

  2. Sierra Case says:

    thanks for posting this, I’ve actually been thinking about situations (not exactly like this) but similar.

    Everything we have ever built up in this world can be gone in an instant, and plenty of the time its just by decisions we make. Whatever happened with the pastor in Nashville, that’s something that will never go away and it’s something that not only ruined him, but also that church’s reputation and that ultimately gives people a reason against church and God. “We are all one or two decisions away from ruining our reputation; devastating the ministry that we’re passionate about, hurting the people we love the most so deeply, and most importantly, hurting the very heart of God.” it’s ridiculous how true that is and it makes ministry so much more important. While we all struggle, if we let God work through us, amazing things can happen in His name. We ruin our own rep with our choices and I feel like that should be an encouragement to live even more in Christ and make decision through Him. Yeah, we still all stumble, but if we strive to let God guide our life and we encourage others to do the same, we can reach out to people who are about to fall or people who are in the midst of falling while working for Christ yet not glorifying His name through their actions. And that doesn’t just stop with people who have job position in ministry, because everyone who is a follower of Christ shows either His love or their own sinful desires. And that should really just encourage us to help each other with the struggles we all have and it should encourage us all the more to show Christ in ALL our actions.

    • eimrick says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful response, Sierra. You are wise beyond your years and I can’t wait to see how God continues to use you for His purposes and Glory.

  3. Daniel Anderson says:

    Rick thank you for opening up and posting this. I honestly think that we are all one decision away from ruining our and gods reputation. I also believe that the people who commit adultery have in common is that they feel like it will never happen to them (or they arent capable of doing something like that). I always fear when people tell me that i am not capable of _(adultery. i even had a girl say to me that i wasnt capable of hurting her. if only she knew my heart). Thats why accountability is so very important. I mean a group of people who know each other and are tough on each other. Without it you will die. Trust me I have and am learning it the hard way.

    • eimrick says:

      Thanks, Daniel. I appreciate you reading this posting. I agree with much of what you’re saying. It’s sad how common it actually it. I’m glad you’re making accountability and genuine community a value in your life.

  4. It is very important to have self consciousness. Before correcting others, we must ensure that we are not committing similar mistakes.

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