Let me spell out an all-too-common scenario. A bright young Christian arrives on the scene as a volunteer worker for a small struggling, yet anointed ministry organization. He (or she) gives a few months or a few years of his young life as a “full time worker” and selflessly dedicates his precious time. He sees the ministry make some headway due to his unique set of skills. The founder of the ministry is pleased and gives the young worker a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars to help complete a project. Due to the messy organizational skills of the leader and the lack of a well-defined plan, the project either falls by the wayside or stalls once it is more than half finished. The level of frustration rises on both sides. The young worker realizes that his own financial situation has grown dire due to a growing amount of time spent sacrificially without an adequate salary. He feels he has wasted his precious time and will never see the fruit of his labor. He leaves the ministry he previously admired with a bad taste in his mouth and then slanders the ministry founder to numerous friends and acquaintances.
I’ve seen this scenario — or something similar to it — play out a few dozen times in my Christian experience. It is not a syndrome peculiar to a certain type ministry or church denomination. The “martyr syndrome” seems to be everywhere. I would define this as ministry burnout when unrealistic expectations are not met and a “victim” mentality ensues. Here’s a good set of articles from the Emmanuel Research Review that describe this syndrome as being pervasive and makes some good suggestions for reform: Is it just me that is dysfunctional or is it my church?
Where does this happen most? Youth ministries that recruit full-time Christian workers that are required to raise their own support are more prone to this than others. The conundrum comes when a worker is responsible for his or her own support, but is nevertheless placed in a situation that demands a high level of commitment. Young Christians have the greatest amount of zeal, but they are also the most naïve. They are therefore prone to spiritual abuse and often place unrealistic expectations on themselves. When things don’t work out exactly as imagined, this is either an opportunity to learn and mature or it can be a pitfall for bitterness as well.
As a high school teacher in a lower income area, I deal young people who come from dysfunctional families all day long. It is not surprising that given the high level of dysfunctionality in our culture that we find this syndrome among young adults who are placed in ministry situations.
«- Harvard faculty recomends required "Reason and Faith" courses
- Campus Ministry
- Ministry Ideas
-» Seven Steps to Reforming a Dysfunctional Ministry or Church
Your comments are welcome!
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l
Running Time: 40 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)