8 Signs that You’re Leading on the Defensive

In a football game, the defense matters. In the local church, though, being on the defensive as a church leader is not a strong posture for leading. Check these markers of leading on the defensive, and see if any characterizes you.

  1. Your entire ministry seems to be about putting out fires. Everything is about trying to keep the small fires from becoming a blaze. Your leadership is reactive, not proactive.
  2. You generally assume that “the other shoe” is still going to fall. Even when things are going well, you’re careful and protective – you just know that things are going to fall apart.
  3. You’ve lost any sense of vision for tomorrow. Any thoughts about pressing forward into the future are fleeting. Your goal is simply to get through the day.
  4. You’re taking fewer risks than you once did. You once took steps of faith as a leader, but now you guard those steps. Previous risks have led to pain, and you want to avoid it happening again.
  5. You’ve lost your joy for ministry, and often for Christ. It’s hard for church leaders to separate their personal walk from their professional calling. Neither your heart nor your face shows joy anymore.
  6. If and when you pray, it’s usually in response to a problem. You’re only responding, even in your prayer time. Sometimes, your prayers are actually only defenses of your own position and actions.
  7. You think in terms of, “How can we do this while creating the least amount of opposition?” You’re tired of fighting, and you don’t want to lose any more territory in the battle.
  8. Others have commented that you’re not leading anymore. You may have heard it only through the grapevine, but others are talking. They know something’s not right.

In a future post, I’ll deal with leading on the offensive. For now, though, let us know how we can pray for you if you find yourself in this list.   


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