Preaching Articles

In the path of the preacher there are many landmines – hidden explosives that can do untold damage to your ministry.  Whether you’ve been preaching for a couple of years or for half a century, why not take some time to prayerfully work through this list?  If you are on a team why not work through these together and pray for each other? Maybe you could ask your spouse if they sniff any whiff of these in your life?

1. Pride – Preaching involves influence, position, recognition, and respect, not to mention criticism, attack and hurt. Whether it goes well, or not, preachers are always going to need to navigate pride in their ministry. This can start to manifest in many ways, but any preacher who claims no temptation to pride is probably on the brink of disaster.

2. Prayerlessness – Remember the trepidation when you first entered the pulpit? That is probably long since gone, but has prayer gradually slipped away too?  Prayer in preparation, prayer in anticipation of preaching, prayer for those who will hear, prayer for yourself, prayer for other preachers in town, prayer should be central in any preaching ministry, but often it silently slips away as we move on in ministry.

3. Laziness – With experience comes learning and proficiency.  Maybe it doesn’t take as much preparation and you know your stuff much better now. So do you preach in some way at the level of years ago and use the spare capacity for self indulgence, or does the benefit of experience and learning lift your ministry to greater heights now?

4. Bitterness – Over the years you will be rejected, attacked, criticised, lied about, and repeatedly disappointed. Have you pushed anger inside toward others for what they’ve done and said? Have you pushed anger inside toward God for not answering prayers as you hoped He would? Bitterness is never obvious in the mirror, but it tends to ooze out so others can smell it.  Eventually it will blow.

5. Fatigue – Giving yourself away to others in preaching and pastoral ministry, combined with financial limitations, family struggles, and perhaps poor health can leave you wiped out. Admit it if it is true.

6. Lust – Are you fatigued and vulnerable? Are you successful and vulnerable? Are you struggling in your marriage and vulnerable? Are you lonely and vulnerable? Are you complacent and vulnerable? Somehow you are vulnerable.

7. Fear – Maybe there is a fear lingering in you . . . fear of failure, fear of exposure for your inadequacy or sin, fear of rejection, fear of man, fear of finishing.

What would you add to the list? What landmines have you trodden on, or seen blow up for others?


Peter Mead is involved in the leadership team of a church plant in the UK. He serves as director of Cor Deo—an innovative mentored ministry training program—and has a wider ministry preaching and training preachers. He also blogs often at and recently authored Pleased to Dwell: A Biblical Introduction to the Incarnation (Christian Focus, 2014). Follow him on Twitter

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Mitchell Leonard

commented on Jun 2, 2016

Thank you Brother Peter.

Mike Brenneman

commented on Mar 5, 2021

Peter, Powerful! Thank-you for the reminder. I've seen these landmines explode in my life and in the lives of preachers I know and love. I would add another. Lack of respect for God's word. Lack of basic hermeneutics like context or "To whom was it said?". Or clinging to some seminary teaching or a doctrine in one's denomination that doesn't stand up to rigorous testing from the Bible. This may be one area where landmine #7 also threatens us--fear of what people think, when we conclude a favorite doctrine isn't biblical. Your article stimulated my thinking. May the God of Truth and Peace be with us all.

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