Proverbs 4:14-15 says, “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from, and pass away.” As church leadership goes, so goes the church. It’s important that deacons, teachers, ministry directors, etc., at all costs, avoid the way of unrighteousness. Here are 8 things every church leader must avoid.
1. Avoid Complacency.
1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” One of the greatest mistakes a local church leader can make is to become complacent. Avoid complacency in your personal life and church life. How can I do this?
- Be consistent in your Bible study and prayer
- Read good Christian books
- Keep your family growing together
- Win people to Christ and disciple them
- Prepare your heart for worship. This begins before Sunday.
- Seek individuals and families that you can serve through hospitality.
2. Avoid the Appearance of Evil.
1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” It’s not only abstaining from evil, but the appearance of evil as well.
Avoid the appearance of evil in your community presence. A leader who will impact others for Christ will be conscientious of his or her testimony in this world, aware that people are always watching and listening. The testimony of Christ and His local church is at stake with how leaders approach this biblical principle.
Avoid the appearance of evil in your internet presence. The reputation of our families and our church can be ruined with the click of a mouse. Every church leader should intentionally discuss with their families rules for posting on social networks. With pictures, profiles, words, local church leaders should avoid the appearance of evil.
3. Avoid a Critical Spirit.
Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” Destructive criticism can damage the work of God. Someone has said, “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, but it takes character to be understanding and forgiving.” Proverbs 31:10 says, “Only by pride cometh contention.” It’s important to note that criticism not handled biblically is carnal. Christians are not police officers that interrogate the accused, we are servants of God who have the obligation to resolve broken relationships. Matthew 18:15, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained they brother.”
4. Avoid Foolishness and Gossip.
2 Timothy 2:23, “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” Church leaders must refuse to be a participant in such sinful activity. We are to “study to be quiet, and to do our own business, and to work with our own hands.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
Avoiding this foolishnesses involves thinking before we speak. James 1:19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.” I’ve seen this acrostic used for years, and it should be something we ask ourselves as we THINK before we speak:
- T – Is it true?
- H – Is it helpful?
- I – Is it inspiring?
- N – Is it necessary?
- K – Is it kind?
If what you want to say doesn’t fit these categories, then it doesn’t need to be said! I recently heard Dr. Carl Herbster say in a message, “You cannot impact people for Christ if you don’t know how to deal with people kindly, compassionately, and graciously.” Some Christians are their own worst enemies simply because of foolishness in dealing with people.
5. Avoid a Heart of Envy.
It’s unfortunate how often I perceive envy and jealousy among God’s people. Proverbs 6:34, “For jealousy is the rage of a man.” Nothing causes strife any quicker than a prideful man who is jealous because he wasn’t asked to teach or a prideful woman who is jealous because her children wasn’t given the key part in the children’s program. Such bitterness and jealousy will ruin your testimony and it spiritually will destroy you!
6. Avoid a “Me-Centered” Ministry.
Our church theme for 2012 has been “Not I, but Christ” from Galatians 2:20. Local church leaders and every Christian in general must remind themselves on a daily basis that life is not about me! Live your live for others not yourself.
- Pray for others
- Write notes of encouragement to others
- Find ways to help others
- Extend hospitality to others
- Give gifts to others
- Praise others
- Prefer others
- Forgive others
- And on and on and on…make your life about OTHERS!
7. Avoid Interaction with the Divisive.
Romans 16:17, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” It’s simple. Those who seem to be constantly divisive and continually critical are to be avoided for the sake of corrupting the body of Christ. Do not surround yourself with those who corrupt your thinking about the work of God and the people of God.
8. Avoid Less than Your Best.
We have a saying around our church that keeps us focused on this principle, “strive for excellence.” God deserves our very best and your church deserves your very best. Colossians 3:23, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” A faithful church leader will not look for short cuts, but will put their heart into the work of the ministry. Give God your best!