Focus – I allowed the constant pressure to keep cranking out the next meeting, study, or message to unconsciously shift my goal from seeing lives changed for the glory of God to just getting the next session planned and run.
Formula – I allowed past successes to fool me into thinking that I had arrived at a formula for a successful program. Just take A, add in some of B plus a little of C and you will get changed lives, etc. While there are certain elements that definitely assist in creating environments conducive to the work of the Holy Spirit, changed lives are always and only the result of the work of the Holy Spirit and not A+B+C. Furthermore, my formulas rarely included the essential elements of dependence upon God, brokenness over the condition of people, and deep concern for the glory and reputation of God’s name.
Forward Momentum – I allowed past successes to lull me into thinking that (1) we’re doing great and (2) things are going to continue to be great. Ministry is more like a boiling pot of water than a locomotive. Remove the fuel from a moving locomotive and its momentum will carry it quite a way before it slows and stops. Remove the heat from a pot of boiling water and the boiling stops almost immediately. Ministry always requires the heat of prayer, brokenness, dependence, and yieldedness.*
*I am indebted to Dwight Edwards for pointing this out in his book Releasing the Rivers Within.