Eleven Characteristics of Pastors who Guarded Themselves Against a Fall

As I hear of church leaders who fall in some way, I’m also reminded of pastors who finished well—who served God faithfully until God called them home. Here are some of their characteristics that challenge me.

  1. They loved Jesus with an obvious, undying love. You could just listen to their words and watch their actions—and you knew how deeply they loved the Lord. Their hearts melted when they talked to Him and about Him.
  2. They never thought the story was about them. Nor did they ever make it about them. They knew the story was always about Jesus. Always.
  3. They never assumed a fall wouldn’t happen to them. They knew it could, no matter how hard they fought against it. They recognized the power of sin.
  4. They deeply loved their family and the people of God. They so loved others that they never, never wanted to let them down. Allowing themselves to fall would have simply brought them too much pain.
  5. They prayed continually. Most of the men I’ve known who finished well lived lives marked by prayer. In fact, I often turned to them when I most needed prayer support.
  6. They memorized scripture regularly. I loved hearing them teach not only because they knew the Word, but also because the Word just fell from their lips. I always wanted to memorize more when I heard them.
  7. They set wise boundaries for themselves. By taking steps like including others in their ministry tasks, they made it more difficult for the enemy to win.
  8. They focused where they were and weren’t concerned about “greener grass.” They stood firmly wherever God placed them, and they rejoiced with whatever ministry He gave them. They weren’t always looking for something new.
  9. They learned to rejoice in the difficult times of life and ministry. Rather than get frustrated with God and His plan, they, like the apostle Paul, learned to “take pleasure in weaknesses . . . and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ” (2 Cor 12:10).
  10. They finished well in all their ministry settings. That’s not to say they never hit rough patches; it’s simply to say they worked through those times, pressed on faithfully, and gained the love and respect of their congregations. If we finish well today wherever we are, we’re more likely to finish well in the end. 
  11. They never really retired. Sure, they stepped away from full-time paid ministry, but they never stopped preaching the Word. They seldom passed on an opportunity to teach the Scriptures—which means they always knew others were watching their lives.

What would you add to this list as you think about others who guarded themselves against a fall? 

Posted on November 17, 2020

Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
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  • And women as well! Great article.

  • How about making sure that they are qualified according to 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, and 1 Corinthians 14
    How about them truly fearing the Lord?
    How about making sure that they have truly been born from above?

  • DAVIDSON LUPIA says on

    l have been helped thanks , have been in pastoral ministry for a time yes but a bit frustrated the 11 characteristics helped me a lot God bless you in deed

  • I wish not only Men in the Ministry guarded their hearts for GOD, but all men. Majority of men let themselves become rebellious not because the devil tempted them, but because they wanted what the devil tempted them with. So I ask? What do you do when the devil has what you want being a man of GOD? To many men are letting themselves down, fall when they know their falling and do nothing to stop it. Then where does that leave the congregation.? It leaves the church almost hopeless. Men have stop being men and women are taking over the church. So I would say to the men who strives for perfection, who press there way, who believe in holy and righteousness, believe in THE POWER OF JEHOVAH GOD, THE POWER OF JESUS CHRIST, THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST keep reaching for heaven and all of its righteousness. Keep the church from spots and wrinkles. Keep the false prophets out the pulpits and keep God’s church the church HE will be back for. The KING OF KING, LORD OF LORD will some day come back for HIS children, so I say keep preaching the word of GOD. Keep teaching in HIS NAME, keep praying in the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST. Teach the love of GOD, but also HIS wrath. Teach people to ask GOD for wisdom, knowledge and understanding of HIS WORD. PREACH THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST, the good NEWS OF OUR LORD and the Cross HE died for our sin on..
    I wish I could sit under these men of GOD because it’s so few men of GOD that preach the word, but don’t obey the word. I ask GOD to give me something positive to hear about in this world because it’s so much negativity. WOW! To hear that there are men who want to obey our ALMIGHTY AND POWERFUL GOD, I can’t ask for anything better than that.

    • Wow! thank you. I dont know who you are but i felt like your words hit my heart. Im a missionary for over 20 years and kept my faith (and holiness) but felt like nobody wants it or likes it anymore. So God spoke to me through you and wanted me to know this. Thanks again, sister in Christ.