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5 Ministry Mistakes I’ve Made & The Lessons I’ve Learned

5 Ministry Mistakes I've Made & The Lessons I've Learned
 

The people I look up to most, the ones who sharpen me has ministry mentors and spiritual advisors all have something beautiful in common, they’re bravely courageous in their transparency. They are unashamed to speak about the process of their growth and do so by vulnerably sharing what they’ve learned through their mistakes. 

I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and I write books about them!
— Kris Vallotton

I can relate. I’ve been tons of mistakes too- in my immaturity, ignorance, lack of discernment, I’ve been quick to air the process without really taking the time to marinate in the lesson and seek Holy Spirit counsel on not just what to share, but more importantly HOW I share it. I’ve made some embarrassing mistakes and I’ve inadvertently hurt people. Today I want to share some of my errors. I’m doing so because I pray that my process could help someone else in their spiritual walk. After all, life is a journey and we’re all being sanctified into the image of Christ. 

 

Lesson 1

When God entrusts you with a prophetic knowing, it’s not to provoke fear or judgment. It’s because He entrusts you to be an intercessory prayer warrior and bring light and love to the solution NOT to expose the problem. 

I admit I’m still in the beginning phases of understanding my prophetic gifting. And I haven’t always “gotten it right.” There have been times people have just rubbed me the wrong way, ya know. People I’ve worked alongside that were challenging to connect with. I liked to be liked and so when I feel a disconnect, it deeply bothers me. I’ve learned to approach God in prayer and ask Him to show me what’s happening beyond what I can see...is there a spirit at work trying to divide us? Is it unhealed wounds that are being scratched? Are there private issues happening that are going unaddressed? The Lord promises that when we seek we will find. The predicament I’ve experienced is that He answers my prayers and gives me an inner knowing about something or someone and instead of being grateful that the Lord would entrust me with such knowledge, I’ve gotten freaked out, put myself at a distance and have set camp in the land of judgement. This just causes a bigger divide. Insight doesn’t give you authority to air the problem but to pray into the solution. It’s an opportunity to love those that may be hard to love because that’s the Christlike thing to do. 

If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!
— Luke 6:32

 

 

Lesson 2

Just because you resonate with a particular style or sound does not give you permission to speak negatively against others who connect differently.  

As I’ve grown to be more bold in my faith, the expression of my worship has become much more demonstrative. I resonate with firey preaching, passionate, loud, expressive preachers. I thrive in environments that welcome wild worship expressions, spontaneous praise, contending in the spirit, revival-type settings, charismatic or Pentecostal styles just jive with my spirit. At one point I was so wrapped up in it I began to downplay, discredit and dismiss the movement of God in more traditional, modest, conservative settings. And man, let me tell ya....Holy Spirit convicted me lovingly and sternly for it. Jesus reminded me that it’s HIS church. Holy Spirit showed me how I was grieving Him- He reminded me that He takes many forms. There’s beauty in the baptism of water and there’s beauty in the baptism of fire. Jesus is personified as both the Lion AND the Lamb. He can move the hearts of people in settings of loud, bold worship and also in soft and gentle ways. I learned to appreciate all sounds and settings because God is God and He moves in many ways! I’m now much more careful to not develop a religious, judgmental spirit because of personal preference. 

 

Lesson 3

Personal convictions are personal.  

We are all in different phases of spiritual maturity, growth, understanding and application. As we proceed in the sanctification process, our convictions will change.  

All things permissible not all things beneficial.
— 1 Corinthians 6:12 & 10:23

God is good and full of grace. Grace is not justification to live in sin but the empowerment to live in righteousness (right standing with God). Abba God is so loving, patient, forgiving and gentle and yet is direct and confrontational. Sometimes He grabs ahold of our hearts and reveals areas we need to surrender or sacrifice not because He’s controlling but because He’s protective and desires for us to guard our hearts so that we will be more a reflection of Him and less a reflection of the world of relativity. The closer we grow to Him, the more sensitive we become. Conviction is healthy, it confronts that which we once deemed permissible and gives us an insight into God's heart and develops a greater sensitivity. In my walk, I’ve developed a great conviction/sensitivity to what music I listen to, what shows I accept as entertainment, and certain environments I’m in. 

But just because I felt the Lord tell me watching The Bachelor{ette} is no longer permissible for me doesn’t give me the right to criticize or condemn others for choosing to watch it.  

Just because you may feel convicted to abstain from alcohol doesn’t give you the right to play God and manipulate others to adhere to your convictions.  

Instead, I've learned to walk confidently in my personal convictions and let Holy Spirit do His job to work in the hearts of others. Sure I can share my journey and why I am convicted the way I am, but I realize I am the Heather Spirit, not the Holy Spirit and while I choose to partner with Him, I’m to be more focused on the condition of my heart rather than judging others’.  

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ...So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
— Romans 14:10, 12

 

Lesson 4

The extent of your servanthood isn’t relegated to the role you play on Sunday. 

 I found myself getting so wrapped up in my position in my local church, consumed with the tasks and overworking myself to fill gaps because it gave me a sense of being “needed”. God had me relay my positions to other people who are just as (if not more) qualified than I was to step into those roles. I learned I wasn’t as “needed” as I wanted to believe. My absence was filled, the tasks got done, and others were empowered to step up and lead. I may have actually been blocking their blessing by selfishly holding onto positions because it offered a sense of self-importance. 

I learned others are well capable and able to do what I did, and probably even better. I learned that I was working to show myself approved when God’s Word says to study to show ourselves approved. One strives for the approval of man, the other reveals the approval of God.  

 

Lesson 5

Anyone can fulfill a task but no one can fulfill YOUR calling.  

This one I learned from my mentor Pastor. In my time away I realized I was actually being defiant. I was using the excuse of a life consumed with roles in the church because I was too afraid to actually pursue the very clear calling God has on my life because it intimidates me. 

The book, “Driven By Eternity". By John Bevere really shook me. I admit it’s taken me over a year to complete it because each word cut me to the core. It caused me to rethink things. I learned that when I graduate from this earth and meet my Father face to face I will have to give an account for my life. I’ll be judged not on what I accomplished but on whether or not I fulfilled His Purpose for my existence.  

He created each of us individually and uniquely specifically and intentionally designed with a purpose, complete with specific measures of gifts and talents, equipped with the personality and characteristics to serve Him with a personalized mantle... All to transform this earth in the likeness of Heaven while we have the blip of time to do so.  

We have to learn to embrace who we are in Christ. We have to learn to discern “good things” from “GOD things”. We have to be wise to stay in our lane so as not to create carnal collision which yields spiritual carnage. I can’t fulfill the purpose on your life. Only you can do that. You can’t fulfill the calling on my life, that’s purely my responsibility. I’ve learned to look upward and inward before looking externally to find fault or criticize others.  

If we become so focused on ourselves we won’t have time to critique others. With these lessons I’ve learned through the mistakes I’ve made I realize God is making it all work together for good. I’ve been envisioning the season of the future where I will get the honor of coaching and counseling others to birth the ministries God has placed in their heart. I see now how God is refining the apostolic, prophetic, pastoral, evangelistic and teacher in me to be able to partner with Him and come alongside others to see Hispurpose manifest on this earth.  


I’m only a few years into a life given to ministry... God-willing I have many more years, many more mistakes and many more lessons to share.  These are just a few of the many mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned so far. There are surely more to come as I’m committed to spiritual growth and the not so comfortable sanctification process.

Praise the Lord!  


Helpful Guides

Scripture Reading

  • Teach us to make the most of our time...and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!  - Psalm 90:12 NIV 
  • And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. John 16:8
  • When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. John 16:13-14

Join the conversation in the comments below:

  • What ministry lessons have you learned? 
  • Who are your spiritual mentors?
  • What books or resources have been encouraging tools for you on your journey of faith?