4 Boundaries Every Ministry Leader Should Have

I can tell you after looking into a lot of hurt people’s eyes: Our permissibility issues aren’t worth it.

Boundaries are the greatest gift we give ourselves in ministry. They lessen the complicated yes’s and no’s. They keep things from getting cloudy. They help everyone around us know better what they can expect. Conversely, the leader who doesn’t set boundaries is the leader who needs not expect longevity—or at the very least, longevity without regret.

 

Some of saddest and most common words ever spoken by a ministry leader are often the most preventable.

“I should never have let it get to that point,” my pastor friend told me over lunch. His wife sitting in the booth beside him nodded the tears right out of her eyes.

We weren’t even to the calamari appetizers and he had already confessed to me about his long-running emotional affair.

Having sat with one too many leaders who can now only wish they’d been more strict with themselves, I can tell you if we want to stay in ministry for the long haul, we’ll get over being so liberal with ourselves and instead, do what it takes to not fall into sin.

I can tell you after looking into a lot of hurt people’s eyes: Our permissibility issues aren’t worth it.

Jesus wants us to have enough integrity to say, my freedom lets me do it, but my heart tells me it’s not for my best and set a boundary from there.

Boundaries are the greatest gift we give ourselves in ministry. They lessen the complicated yes’s and no’s. They keep things from getting cloudy. They help everyone around us know better what they can expect.

Conversely, the leader who doesn’t set boundaries is the leader who needs not expect longevity—or at the very least, longevity without regret.

Burnout is real. So is forced resignation.

But a leader who longs to serve Jesus well, steady, and long-term will set these four necessary boundaries.

Time

All of us have limited time capacity, making this boundary perhaps the easiest to self-govern. Yet we still struggle with trying to be “all things to all people” in knowing where and when to offer up our time.

While some leaders make themselves largely unavailable, setting a stringent standard for time and relying upon support staff to stand in on their behalf, this isn’t possible for many leaders.

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