4 More Major Reasons Pastors Fall Into Sin

by | May 8, 2019 | Church & Ministry

Editor’s Note: This article is Part 2 in a two-part series. Click here for Part 1.

8. Many pastors do not know how to build a dream team and have people operating outside of their gift mix.

Accurately placing people based on their giftings is one of the most important things in terms of releasing a pastor from some of their responsibilities in the ministry. God has called our churches to function as apostolic centers, wherein all the ministry gifts of Ephesians 4:11 can function so the work of the ministry or the oversight of the church is not dependent on any one person.

Every pastor should have the Antioch church as their model—one where the church is shepherded by a diverse multiplicity of ministers (Acts 13:1). This can prevent the church overseer from reaching ministerial burnout because they will have the ability to balance their time between work, family, private renewal and relaxation.

Every dream team is made up of at least four kinds of leaders:

  1. Visionary or directional leader: The one who motivates the church and casts a macro vision.
  2. Strategic leader: The person who lays out the strategic plan on how to implement the vision.
  3. The team builder: The “people person” who spends time among the sheep and builds the morale of the office staff or ministry team.
  4. The operational leader: The one who loves to create systems and leaves paper trails for proper protocol to operate in the church.
  1. The unique contribution of each kind of leader:

Macro leaders, like directional leaders, become impatient when bogged down dealing with high-maintenance “problem people.” This is a job for the pastors and/or team builders. Macro leaders are wired to spend their time with those who contribute to the big picture and bring them the biggest return from their very busy schedule.

Strategic leaders are perfectionists who have a hard time making deadlines and pulling the trigger on important decisions.

The team builders who are given a heavy administration workload will get frustrated. Unlike the operational leaders, they hate paperwork!

Asking operational leaders, strategic leaders and team builders to cast vision will only hinder the church and frustrate these three leaders. This is a job only the directional leader can do correctly.

One time, a senior pastor I was overseeing asked me to mediate a problem between him and one of his staff pastors. I had to tell him after we spoke for half an hour that this staff person was misplaced. The senior pastor was trying to get this (team building) leader to be an administrator, and the result was both pastors were frustrated and almost parted ways.

(For more on this concept, read A Fish Out of Water: 9 Strategies Effective Leaders Use to Help You Get Back into the Flow by George Barna.)

9. Competition among churches (or pastors).

Unfortunately, many leaders are driven by self and not led by the Spirit. They are especially driven by their need to feel significant based on the growth and success of other churches in their community or region. This is a serious issue among some pastors and causes much self-induced stress and feelings of inadequacy, depression, and insecurity.

When a leader endeavors to grow a church numerically without commensurate church health, it is a sure sign that the leader is driven more by ego and/or insecurity than the pure desire of obeying their God-given assignment. Because of this competitive spirit, some pastors secretly celebrate when a fellow pastor is struggling; they also secretly become discouraged when a church in their community prospers and grows more than theirs. This is a sure sign of unhealthy competition.

One reason for this is because pastors become confused when a church in their community is blessed and their church does not grow as fast. This causes them to wonder what they are doing wrong and what the other pastor is doing right. Thus, they are driven by insecurity. In 2 Corinthians 12:2, Paul teaches leaders not to compare themselves with others.

When pastors understand that the kingdom of God is greater than their local church, competitive feelings will begin to dissipate.

10. Lack of personal vision/life plan.

Many leaders are personally lost even when they have a great vision for their church. They are not sure who they are, what their assignment is or how to lead based on their strengths. Thus, it is possible to attempt to lead a congregation and cast a vision without even being sure of your specific assignment from the Lord! There are also people who pastor a church only because they do not know of any other way to make a living; they are really evangelists, teachers, prophets or marketplace leaders trying to function in the mold of a pastor although they do not have a nurturing bone in their body.

11. Many leaders don’t know how to lead.

Some leaders depend on positional leadership based on their title rather than functional leadership. I was shocked years ago when I realized that not all pastors are leaders. Someone with little or no mantle of leadership trying to lead a congregation will eventually lead to people going in their own direction, looking for the real leader in their midst.

I agree with George Barna (as stated in his book A Fish Out of Water) when he says that there are habitual leaders (born leaders) who are so gifted that leadership comes naturally to them; they simply intuit leadership.

I also agree with best-selling author and leadership expert John Maxwell, who says we can grow as leaders by asking people to mentor us and by taking the time to study about leadership. God has called each leader to know and articulate their own mission statement.


  1. Pastors need to find peer communities with compatible vision where they will find a safe haven to receive from and aid them in fulfilling their vision. Denominational presbytery meetings do not necessarily meet this need.
  2. Pastors need one or more other pastors who will coach them, hold them accountable and speak to the needs of their emotional and inner lives.
  3. Pastors need to erect boundaries and firewalls around themselves and their families so that their personal lives and families will have time to replenish and be renewed.
  4. Pastors need to take care of their physical bodies with regular exercise, solitude and silence, rest and proper diet.
  5. Pastors need to take regular times of rest and/or sabbaticals:(a) one year for every seven years in ministry. I realize this may not be possible for bivocational pastors or those in small, rural congregations, but it is possible to take creative steps by using guest ministers and deacons or elders to give the pastor an extended break; (b) one day for every seven days; (c) three days away for prayer and reflection every three months.
  6. Pastors need to pay attention to their emotional needs, not just their spiritual lives.
  7. Pastors need to take care of their intellectual lives. Some pastors should go back to school. The majority of pastors in many regions have less than a bachelor’s degree; thus, most lack serious, well-ordered learning. Pastors should prioritize regular times for study to develop their intellect and regular times for devotional reading. Just reading to preach is work and will wear you out and not necessarily draw you closer to God.
  8. Pastors need to bring their spouses along in all facets of self-renewal and ministry so that there is unity and compatibility of vision in their marriages.

Now, I spent this chapter reviewing a multiplicity of challenges pastors face, and why some give up. But at the same time, leaders should recognize that failure is not a reason to throw up their arms and quit. In chapter 6, I will review how failure can be the gateway to success. {eoa}

This article is Chapter 5 from Poisonous Power, Bishop Mattera’s latest book. For more like this, you can purchase your copy on Amazon here.


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