Don’t preach if you’re not right with others.
Don’t preach if you’re not right with God.
You say, but I’ve got to preach this weekend! Well then, you’ve got some work to do at home. Fix it before you get behind the pulpit. Don’t open God’s Word before people unless this private piece is right.
Only by God’s grace can I say this, but not one time ever in my ministry have I stood up in the pulpit when I was not in an A+ position with my wife. Ever. This is priority because to do otherwise is detrimental to my marriage and to my own soul. My wife Kathy says that one of the blessings of being in the ministry is that problems cannot linger through the weekend. They must be—will be—have to be resolved.
Early in our marriage we learned to watch out for the enemy and his cruel cunning. As the weekend approaches and we are getting ready to worship, he’ll often drop a little bomb in the middle of our relationship. We’ve learned to stop right there and sort it out. If you endeavor to speak truth to other people while you’re ignoring it in your own life, you’re nurturing a cancer in your spirit. You’re injecting yourself with a poison that will destroy your ministry and your desire to serve the Lord. That’s why this is important enough to include at the top of our list.
It’s also critical to be right with the leaders of your church. We have multiple services every weekend. After our first on Saturday night, while people are exiting the room, all the ministers who were part of the weekend planning duck into a back room and together we put our service through the shredder. Why did we do this? Why was it like that? Through the years I’ve learned to be calm in those meetings, but it’s not uncommon once in a while for the atmosphere to get intense about something we really want to improve.
I care very deeply for these ministry partners, especially our worship leaders. After any heated session, our Worship Pastor will call me, or I’ll call him to ask, “Is everything okay between us?” We know we must pay close attention to this, or we’ll end up on the platform performing for people instead of leading them into God’s presence.
Take this to heart. If a rift in a relationship is allowed to go unchecked anywhere in your life, your ministry effectiveness will unravel like a bad sweater and your heart will become hollow in a hurry. Always resolve everything…now.