The Seven Deadly Sins of Ministry Podcast Series Part 6: Satisfied without Seeing People Saved

No pastor sets out to forget about reaching the lost, yet we can all slip into the sin of becoming satisfied with doing ministry well without seeing people saved if we aren’t careful. 

One of the great ironies of ministry is that the more committed we are to ministry and loving the local church, the more we find ourselves caring for, leading, loving, and encouraging Christians. These are good things, but we can get so busy doing that work that we forget the reason the Lord has left us here: to make Him known. That’s the plan of the gospel. He uses the redeemed to make redemption known to the unredeemed. And while we are without a doubt called to edify and strengthen the body of Christ, we do so to release the body back into the lives of lost people.

So, how do we guard against forgetting the plan of the gospel in the midst of busy lives? Answering this question was at the heart of my recent podcast conversation with special guest Dr. Paul Chitwood, president of the International Mission Board. I am deeply grateful he joined me for this discussion on avoiding the sin of being satisfied in ministry without seeing people saved. 

Let’s define this sin:

SATISFIED WITHOUT SEEING PEOPLE SAVED: Working really hard at doing church really well all the while becoming increasingly indifferent to the reality that the lost around us face an eternity without Christ in hell.

Why is this a sin?

First of all, sharing the hope of the gospel is a matter of

Jesus has made the call on our lives clear. In Acts 1:8 we read His words, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 

Dr. Chitwood pointed out how this verse makes it evident our call is both local and global. He noted that while that doesn't mean every person is going to go and serve overseas in mission work, every follower of Jesus is responsible to be a part of getting the gospel to the ends of the earth. We have to own this privilege and responsibility of ensuring that the gospel is not only getting across the street, it's getting across the sea.

At the center of all that the International Mission Board does concerning the spread of the gospel, is this truth: Lostness is the world's greatest problem.

Yes, our world has a lot of problems. We all know this from looking at the headlines. Wars. Problems at the border. Political issues. More displaced people today than at any time in human history. More enslaved people than at any time in human history. A hunger crisis that is unlike anything we've faced in more than four decades.

These are incredible, overwhelming, real problems, but Dr. Chitwood reminded us that none rival the problem of lostness. Why? Because lostness is our only problem that will last. Every other problem in a person's life ends the moment he or she dies. This is why we need to make sharing the gospel a priority.

What will help us keep Jesus' priority of reaching the lost a priority in our lives?

Often, we reduce evangelism down to needing a different strategy, a better acronym, or some new tool. But we have never been more inundated with phenomenal content about how to share our faith. We are just a few clicks away from multiple gifted men and women who have all kinds of resources about having those spiritual conversations, breaching those awkward subjects, and using the tools of Scripture to be apologists for the gospel.

So the problem isn't information. It's transformation. We need our hearts changed by Christ. Intimacy with the Lord leads to interest in reaching the lost. Because the closer we are to His heart, the closer we are to His mission.

Dr. Chitwood shared that some of the most committed, passionate personal evangelists he has ever met have been some of the least educated, common blue-collar workers and farmers, while others have been well-trained, sophisticated people in academia or on the mission fields. What stands out about all of these people is a consistent walk with Him. Again, intimacy is the key. Closeness with the Lord keeps His priorities, our priorities.

And if we want those we lead to care about the lost, we must care about the lost. We need to prioritize living it and preaching it.

Want to hear our full conversation and learn more from Dr. Paul Chitwood? You can listen to 7 Deadly Sins of Ministry Episode 6: Satisfied without Seeing People Saved here. And make sure to subscribe to the Living Worthy with D.J. Horton Podcast so you don’t miss the final episode in this series.


  1. Where might this sin specifically show itself in your life?
  2. What precedes your struggle with this? In other words, what time, season, situation, or stress point usually triggers this in your life?
  3. Who could be best suited to watch your back on this?
  4. When you have experienced victory in this area, what helped you the most?