While boundaries are proactive rules you set to make sure things work well internally, hedges are protective barriers you build to keep out the onslaught of attacks that will inevitably come your way. Boundaries exist to preserve and bolster what’s within them; hedges exist to keep the bad stuff–the poison, the negativity, and the temptation–at bay.
Satan has many tactics in his derailment strategy for your life. Being aware of his go-to weapons can help you stand against them. Robert Clinton, the longtime professor of leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary, created a list of the six most common downfalls for pastors–or, as he phrased it, six barriers to finishing well.
- Finances: Leaders, particularly those who have power positions and make important decisions concerning finances, tend to use practices that may encourage incorrect handling of finances and eventually wrong use. A character trait of greed often is rooted deep and eventually will cause impropriety with regard to finances.
- Power: Leaders who are effective in ministry must use various power bases in order to accomplish their ministry. With power so available and being used almost daily, there is a tendency to abuse it.
- Pride: Pride can lead to the downfall of a leader. As a leader, there is a dynamic tension that must be maintained. We must have a healthy respect for ourselves, and yet we must recognize that we have nothing that was not given to us by God.
- Sex: Illicit sexual relationships have been a major downfall both in the Bible and in Western cultures. Joseph’s classic integrity check with respect to sexual sin is the ideal model that should be in leaders’ minds.
- Family: Problems between spouses or between parents and children or between siblings can destroy a leader’s ministry. What is needed are biblical values lived out with regard to husband-wife relationships, parent-children relationships, and sibling relationships.
- Plateauing: Leaders who are competent tend to plateau. Their very strength becomes a weakness. They can continue to minister at a level without there being a reality or Spirit-empowered renewing effect.
In order to keep your life and your family from being ravaged by the effects of these poisons, you must build thick hedges of protection around yourself.
– Nelson Searcy
The above excerpt is from p. 53-54 of The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry.
Drawing from Nelson Searcy’s decades of ministry experience, The Renegade Pastor is a relevant, step-by-step resource for church leaders who are ready to step up in surrender to the pursuit of God’s best for his or her life and work.
Your partner in ministry,
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