Common Excuses That Hinder Discipleship in Your Church: Fear


by Craig Etheredge

I’ve heard common excuses that hinder discipleship in churches. One of these is fear. So let’s talk about that.

“I’m afraid to show people who I really am.”

I believe this excuse is very real and very personal. There are many church leaders who agree that we should be personally investing time in others, but somehow find ways not to do it. Digging deeper, the fear of self-disclosure is the real culprit.

To invest in another person means that I must take my mask off and reveal myself, problems and all. It means I must live an authentic life. It means that people will see in me a true love for God, passion for the Word, and concern for those far from God, or the lack thereof.

This is why many feel much more comfortable running programs and managing ministries, because they can do that and never get too close to anyone. They can be busy, but not lay their hearts bare. They can be seen as good pastors or leaders without feeling  vulnerable or exposed. To those of you who honestly struggle in this area, I want to encourage you. Hear my heart. People will never open their hearts to you until you open your heart to them.

Is it risky? Sure it is.

Jesus held nothing back and he was hurt for a time. Paul opened his heart and felt the sting of rejection and disappointment. But you will never know the joy and impact of ministry by keeping people at arm’s length. Open your heart. Live your life in authenticity. Love those in your life with a deep love. Be honest with yourself and with those in whom you are investing your life. Give yourself freely just as Christ has given himself freely to you. To this you were called.

This blog was originally published by discipleFIRST. Reposted here with permission.


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