by Dr. Warren Heckman


We use various sayings to describe the horrendous happenings in ministry life today, such as: It just goes with the territory, its the hazards of ministry, yeah I heard, they bit the dust, etc.

Some of my very close friends in ministry over the past half century became casualties to these common curses. My heart still aches for them, their families, and their churches. There are several pitfalls we can fall into in Satan’s subtle seduction, so I’ll only deal with two, ever so briefly:


1- Subtle Sins

We become extremely tired, fatigued to the bone, sometimes called burnout. We’re empty, stressed, out of gas, spiritually, mentally and physically. A little drink (not a Pepsi by the way) will help us relax and get a good night’s sleep…or one of those little pills that are so helpful. Before we know it we need that boost, lift, calming, or energy repeatedly and we are hooked, but no one knows it, not even our spouse. But we know it and God knows it, now what do we do? Its embarrassing, humiliating, terrifying! Satan’s sneaky subtle sins have worked their way into our lives.

2- Spousal Strategies

This one can go something like this: We have time for everyone in church, we’re kind, patient and warm. When we counsel the opposite sex they are overwhelming in their praise and appreciation. Then we go home and face a spouse who may be lonely and tired because they’ve had a long day too and we don’t have time for real communication and our relationship can begin to break down. We become a hero at church, but a zero at home. It’s an ideal setting for an affair to begin or the temptation of pornography. So, be aware of satan’s strategies to divide spouses and guard your relationship with your spouse, make it top priority and nurture it daily.


How do you avoid these pitfalls?

1. Look Ahead

With your spouse’s input write out the guidelines that you both agree will be standards for your ministry. Look at areas of possible temptation and make a plan before you’re tempted. Simple basics like, you will not counsel the opposite sex alone; you will actually take a day off weekly, you will not put in 60-75 hour work weeks; you will use all of your vacation days each year, etc.

2. Watch Your Steps

Take stock of your personal life: How’s your life? Is it balanced? Do you follow Jesus’ example?

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)

This is a four fold pattern that’s imperative for us today. Are you taking care of and growing in the mental, physical, spiritual and social areas of your life?

Are you taking days off for rest, reflection, and recreation? Are you spending fun time with friends and family? Are you actively connecting with the people around you? Are you consistently growing in your relationship with God? Are you getting enough rest and exercise?


It is not God’s plan for any of us to sabotage our ministry, God would have us live victoriously, finish strong and leave a legacy. Keep your guard up and seek ways to grow in all of the areas of your life and it will make a huge difference in avoiding these pitfalls in your life and ministry!

Dr. Warren Heckman is the National Coordinator for FCA U.S.A.

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