Joseph Iregbu

Purpose Guy

The Danger of Public Ministry

Recently, I stumbled on notes from my conversation with a mentor nearly a decade ago. It was refreshing to know I took his word to heart. Let me give you some background.

I sat down with him to share my vision and what I believe was (still is) God’s call and purpose for my life. He looked me straight in the eyes and said:

Be sure to stay away from people who desire to bring you to public glory. Rather, surround yourself with those that will help you achieve destiny, especially when no one is looking.

Over the years, I’ve paid close attention to this great advice. You should too.

The danger of public ministry

Public ministry is a very dangerous place. The deeper you go in ministry, the greater the risk of losing the ‘God-picture’. Next, we begin to think it’s about us.

It’s not. It never will.

All of life is firstly about God. All of life is lastly about God. Everything in-between is about God. Share on X

I’ve always admired my wife’s commitment and choice to serve ‘behind-the-scene’.

Recently, we’ve retreated from public ministry for a season (turning down speaking opportunities) as we seek God’s face for the next phase of our lives. For us, this has been huge.

It’s been refreshing to seek, pursue and know God for who He is, not for the pulpit.

Don’t live for the pulpit

When you excel in ministry, people will sing your praise. You’ll be placed on an elevated platform and ‘validated’. But that same platform has led to the spiritual and moral decline of many spiritual leaders.

Don’t seek man’s validation. If you’re in Christ, you’re already validated. You are chosen. You belong. You have a radical purpose.

If you’re a spiritual leader (parent, pastor, bible teacher, youth leader, cell group leader, etc) you must resist the temptation to serve God only for the joy of the pulpit.

Don’t live for the pulpit — if you do, you will drift from God. Make Matthew 6:33 your focus; seek God and make Him your anchor, not the ministry.

Remember, don't hold on to public or pulpit ministry like your life depends on it. Rather, hold on to the God who owns and holds the ministry because your life depends on Him. Share on X

Embrace strong accountability

When we hear of the spiritual and moral decline of leaders, you have to look at their inner circle. Influence births influence.

The authenticity of your leadership and the genuine impact you have on others cannot outgrow your level of obedience to the Word of God. And this goes back to my original point about the danger of public ministry.

It’s dangerous to reach a level where your ‘role’ becomes the sole basis for your leadership and dealing with others. This is why accountability is so key.

Let me be clear, I don’t mean accountable to those above you in rank or your peers (that should go without question) but those you lead.

A leader’s life ought to be transparent, not just from the pulpit but on the street and in private conversations.

Surround yourself with people empowered to challenge you with truth and hold you to the standard you preach.

It takes great humility and vulnerability to do this and yet this is the true mark of spiritual leadership. See John 13:1-17 for Christ’s example of servant leadership.

Public and pulpit ministry is essential; some are called to it, many are not. But we are all called primarily to be Christ-like before we are leaders and pastors.

In heaven, our earthly titles count for nothing.

Photo by Kristina Paparo on Unsplash.

About Joseph Iregbu

From a homeless, near-school-dropout to living a story worth telling. Purpose is my passion. What's your story?

4 Replies

  1. Esther

    Thanks for sharing.

    This is so significant in my life at the moment.

    More grace to you and your family.

    Warm regards

    1. Thank you Esther. More grace to you in your pursuit of the One that matters.

  2. Choice Oluwafolahan H. C.

    I’m blessed by this article and by your writings. Remain blessed, remain the blessing God made you.

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words. God bless you.

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