People Who Drain Your Bank In Ministry

People Who Fill Your Bank In Ministry

We have been looking at how to recover from preaching and ministry.  The last two posts were about finding those people who help that process.  In this post we’ll consider those people who drain your bank in ministry and preaching.

The Love Bank

Willard Harley

When I was a local church pastor, one of the most draining things I did was counsel people.  In fact, I stopped doing that when I realized I was poorly trained for that role, and wasn’t very good at it.  So I would refer people quickly to competent professionals to help people form a positive future.

But when I was dealing with couples, one of the people who helped me was Dr. Willard Harley.  His book, His Needs, Her Needs was a huge help in understanding how marriages that began in such a positive way, with so much love, could end with people no longer in love with each other.   In this book, and in some of his other writings, he refers to what he calls a “love bank”.   He identifies top emotional needs for men and women, that when met by a person in marriage, make deposits into the love bank.  In other words, the amount of love grows.  Those ten emotional needs are these:

His theory, then, is that when you give affection to your wife, you deposit into the love bank.  When you say things of appreciation and admiration to your husband, you deposit into the love bank.

Love Bank Withdrawals

On the other hands, there are many ways to withdraw from the love bank that exists between husband and wife.  Here are six of what Harley calls, “Love Busters”.  These are those actions and attitudes that make withdrawals:

selfish demands, disrespectful judgments, angry outbursts, dishonesty, annoying habits, and thoughtless behavior

As with any bank, if withdrawals dominate in a relationship, the account will eventually be bankrupt.

People Who Drain Your Bank

Now take that idea and apply it to those with whom you relate in your preaching and ministry.  Of course, there are things on the lists above that relate only to spouses.  However, I think you can quite easily identify some some people who drain your bank in ministry and life.  Here are some of them:

The Critic

  • The critic:  There is always a place for a critic of course, but there are some who do it out of love, and others who drain you.  I have pictures in my mind even as I write this bullet point.  They are those who say, “You said this, and I find that offensive.  I have found that, for the most part, what they are offended by is something pretty small.  So, I apologize and move on, but something in my spirit feels the withdrawal from my energy bank.  I feel this especially right after preaching.  If someone comes up to me when I have just poured out my mind and heart and criticizes the message, I quickly feel the energy sap away.

The Very Needy People

  • The VNP’s:  I have pictures of these folks, too in my head.  Gordon MacDonald came up with this term to describe Very Needy People.  They need your attention, and will take it.  They don’t care what your needs are, they simply want you to meet their needs.  These people quickly drain your energy bank.

The Dangerous People

  • The dangerous people: One of the things that I was poorly prepared for when I entered ministry is the reality that some people of the opposite sex are attracted to preachers.  When I figured this out, only after a personal blunder, I found that being around people who admired me, spoke nicely to me, and to whom I felt attraction, took incredible energy.  I had to be on constant watch. The bank was emptying.

The “Bosses”

  • The “bosses”: When I say bosses, I think of those who aren’t the normal critic, but the power broker in the church.  If you want to learn more about these people, take my class on leadership with Christian Leaders Institute.  They are the people who, every once in a while, call and say, “We need to have lunch.”  And you know you’ve done something wrong.

All of these people, and maybe you can think of some more, bring a draining to your energy bank.  So how do you identify people who fill your bank in ministry and life?  I’m going to reflect one more time on this subject in the next post.