Football was my sport of choice as a kid. I was plenty big to play on the outside, but on the inside I was insecure and it hurt me as a player. I was so focused on pleasing people and doing everything perfect, I did not play very well. My insecurity affected me also as I got older and went into the ministry. As a young adult I turned my life over to God and then later felt a call to ministry. Ministry was my natural calling, however I still struggled with my insecurities.
Today I see many young ministers who are walking in insecurity as they try to minister. This hinders them from growing as an individual and building a ministry that effectively disciples people. There are many different signs we can look for to see if we are struggling with insecurity in our ministry or life. Here are three of the biggest:
1) We are the Sun
- Insecurity causes us to create a ministry built around us. We are the center of every aspect of our ministry because we want people to be impressed with us. The danger is oftentimes we don’t even realize we are acting like the sun. We just think we are focused and doing God’s work. Too often the workaholic pastor’s sense of insecurity is the very drive that keeps him over working and burning himself out.
- There are many natural ups and downs in ministry and if our security is based on our ministry performance, we will take these very personally. I’m not saying their won’t be hurts, but too often the hurts are more painful because every aspect of our ministry is about us and not God.
2) We have Fans
- Our goal as ministers is to create followers of Christ, but too often we create fans of ourselves. We know how to “act” humble and may genuinely feel humble, but the reality is we are creating a lot of people who want to be us and want to follow us. Some of this is natural, even Paul dealt with this in 1 Corinthians, however we have to be intentional about making sure we are not catering to this fandom to stroke our own insecurity.
- To fight the fan feeling we need to make sure we have honest conversations with people who do not have a vested interest in us. People who will speak the truth to us, even if it hurts. This is hard when we are insecure because the truth feels like an attack. When people speak the truth to us, how do we react? Those feelings are the mirror of our insecurity reflecting us the true things we feel.
3) We are Fans
- I love reading old books. Reading the works of CS Lewis or GK Chesterton inspire me. I remember reading CS Lewis’ autobiography, “Surprised by Joy” and seeing him reference books that he thought everyone would know about and I didn’t recognize but a couple! I didn’t feel very smart at the moment. I enjoy their writing and would be considered a fan, but I’m not a follower of them. My fear is today many young ministers are more fans of other ministries than they are followers of Christ.
- Ministries that are run with excellence and are making a difference, are places we can learn from and be challenged by in our ministry. The problem is that we have too many copycat ministries. They aren’t just learning from and implementing ideas, they are trying to “be” the other minister or create a ministry that is exactly the same. The problem with this is our motivation becomes a sense of success based on comparisons that we need to feel. Often these feelings are stronger than a motivation to spread the gospel and disciple followers of Jesus and our ministries reflect this attitude.
The battle over our own insecurity is a constant battle no matter what stage of life we are in at the moment. The battle takes us being courageous and being honest. Let us take the courage to start today.