By Paul Tripp
There isn’t a more important thing for senior leaders to get a hold of than the fact that God hasn’t put you in the position you are in, in order to give you identity. Your ministry is not your identity. Healthy ministry is always done by people who enter ministry with a firm sense of their identity in Christ.
Seeking your identity through the people in your ministry turns ministry upside down and produces fruit that is disruptive to the ministry process. Are you asking people you lead to give you what you’ve already been given in Christ? You never get your ability to lead from the people you are called to lead. Your ability and identity come through Christ alone.
There will always be detractors in your ministry. There will always be people who are less than enamored by who you are and what you are doing. If you are looking to people to provide for you your inner peace and motivation to continue, disagreement becomes a huge distraction to what God has called you to do.
God has not ever called us to ministry in order to establish in us personal peace, identity, and meaning of purpose. God calls us to live in the identity, and peace, and meaning and purpose of His grace so that we are free to give ourselves to ministry free from the encumbrance of asking people to give to us what they cannot give.
It’s very possible to turn the ministry that God has given you into your own personal messiah and looking to ministry to do in your heart what ministry was never intended to do. Ministry in a fallen world with less than perfect people is hard. If you are looking to that ministry for your identity, the hardship of ministry will beat you down. Much of ministry burnout is the result of misplaced identity. Look to your Savior to give you what you need and minister with freedom.