Not theologically prepared: I recently heard a man preach a sermon that had, sadly, several biblical and theological errors. Those errors did not go unnoticed by many members in the congregation. The role of teaching and preaching in ministry is not to be held lightly. Do not enter ministry theologically unprepared.
I’ve seen too many people in vocational ministry fail to launch.
Perhaps “launch” is not the best term, because they may stay in ministry for many years. But they never seem to do well. They never seem to have a peace. They seem like they are always trying to prove something.
I recently went through my old seminary pictorial directory. I was able to locate 47 people I knew in seminary who I know where they are today. Of that 47, only eight remained in ministry. If you are doing the math, that is an 83 percent dropout rate.
Vocational ministry is a calling. It is not just another vocation. If you enter ministry for the wrong reasons, you will not likely do well. Indeed, you will not likely make it.
What are some of the terrible reasons to enter vocational ministry? Here are five of the most common failures:
- ESCAPE FROM A SECULAR JOB
I know a man who has a huge desire to work fulltime in ministry for a church. But the only reason he ever articulates is his hatred of his middle management secular job. He sees ministry vocation only as an escape from the problems of corporate work. I hope his heart changes before he makes the leap.
- FULFILLING FAMILY EXPECTATIONS
About one-third of my peers who dropped out of ministry came from families in vocational ministry. Don’t hear me wrongly. It is admirable to see multiple generations in ministry for the right reasons. But too many in ministry feel compelled to enter that world because of family pressure. One peer of mine told me, “Dad called me into ministry, not God.”