3 Ways Ministry Drifts from a Foundation of Truth

I didn’t see it coming—but God planned it all along. In my wildest imagination, I never expected to have a second chance at building a women’s ministry from the ground floor, but when the Lord called me, I was all in. I still shake my head in wonder that He could use me at all. After many years of serving in women’s ministry, experience taught me reams of lessons and I was eager to redeem certain aspects of my less-than-stellar leadership. 

If you could go back to scratch and start your ministry over, what would you do differently? Given the chance, would you make minor adjustments or undertake a major overhaul? 

Jesus taught us how to build unshakeable lives and immovable ministries on the rock of truth:

“I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The river crashed against it, and immediately it collapsed. And the destruction of that house was great.” —Luke 6:47–49

The contrast couldn’t be more vivid. When a ministry foundation is built on anything but the rock of Jesus Christ—like the shifting sands of culture, or a celebrity platform that spotlights self, or a here-today-gone-tomorrow church innovation—it’s poised to crash. 

Every ministry is subject to mission drift when it neglects God’s truth or finds it boring. Only a foundation of God’s truth will stand firm and be positioned for His reviving power to be present.

3 Ways Ministry Drifts from a Foundation of Truth

There are numerous ways a ministry can drift from a rock-solid foundation of truth. Here are three:

Experiences and Entertainment Over Truth

We live in a culture that places a high premium on experiences. Women may come looking for a certain feeling without understanding the stark difference between an experience in the world and an experience within the Church. The difference is the Spirit of God. Experiences without the presence of Jesus don’t change a life. Experiences that lack a focus on the Word will leave spiritual hearts untouched. 

Avoiding mission drift requires prayerfully asking and answering hard questions. 

  • Are we focused on creating Pinterest-perfect events? 
  • Do our Bible studies spend more time socializing than wrestling with the Word and submitting to it? 
  • Does our ministry need more substance than crafts, games, or cookie exchanges? 
  • Do we weep for the people who haven’t heard God’s truth? 
  • Are we sprinkling a little Jesus over an entertainment-driven calendar of activities? 

Our sisters don’t need amusement and riveting experiences with smoke and mirrors. People need a life-changing encounter with Jesus who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). 

Emotions Over Truth

God created us to feel emotions, so you won’t hear from me that it’s good to deny them. Neither is it good to force-feed emotions with sentimental hype. Like prioritizing experiences over truth, leaders can misstep when they create ministry environments that stir emotions but the Spirit is absent. Be cautious of mistaking tears or emotional expressions as evidence that the Lord moved. Look for lasting life transformation based on the Word and the Spirit instead of displays of emotion. 

Felt Needs and People-Pleasing Over Truth

Is a woman’s felt need the same as her true need? 

  • There are times when I want to be affirmed when I actually need to repent. 
  • I may want to be understood but my greater need is to know Jesus who shows me the Father. 
  • I may yearn for fellowship when I haven’t first learned the discipline of pursuing intimacy with my Maker.

A woman's true need is to hear and to respond to the gospel. She needs to feast on all of the Word to be a mature and equipped Jesus follower. Anything less doesn’t serve her well. 

If ministry only serves to meet felt needs and please people, it becomes shallow and risks becoming man-centered rather than God-centered. When you need to make an unpopular decision or swim against the tide, find courage from Paul, “For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10). Servants are called to please one Master (and it’s not people).

Truth Never Changes

While the world around us is constantly changing, God’s Word never changes. His truth doesn’t cave into the culture. The prophet Isaiah proclaims that while dry grass withers and blooming flowers fade, “the word of our God remains forever” (40:8). As God speaks through His Word, we have His triple promise that it will never return empty, it will always accomplish His divine purpose, and it will prosper (Isa. 55:11). 

When our ministries are built on the Word, God is powerfully working His purposes for each woman’s life. His Word lacks nothing; it creates life. It equally refreshes and convicts our souls. Is there any foundation that can surpass the majesty and power of God’s Word? Truth triumphs.

Second Chance Ministry

In 2021, there was a catastrophic collapse of condominiums in Surfside, Florida.

Preliminary results from a Federal investigation report that building compromises contributed to the disaster. At the time the structure was built, the design and construction didn’t meet the required standards. Deficiencies in construction led to major structural damages and the loss of ninety-eight lives. It was a tragedy that should have never happened.1

Friends, are you building on the Rock? Does your ministry stand on the code of truth? Are there deficiencies that need to be addressed? If you’ve drifted, you don’t have to wait for a permit to rebuild. The time is right if your ministry has made concessions. 

Don’t delay. But before you start throwing out, take a season for prayer and examination. Meet with your pastor. Ask God to show you how to establish a foundation of truth that will withstand the rising flood waters. Perhaps you need to review your purpose statement or create a biblical foundation for women’s ministry to steer the future onto a path of truth. Gather your leadership team to share how God has been working in your heart and invite their prayerful input. If you’re serving solo, developing a team may be your first step.

As you courageously grab a second chance to build on a foundation of truth, this is my prayer: 

Father, open my sister’s eyes to Your glorious truth and help her see where she isn’t upholding it as she should. Enable her to diligently and accurately teach and lead in truth so she has no need to be ashamed. Lord, give her courage to align her ministry to the plumbline of the Word. Send the Holy Spirit to help elevate Your truth above all things as she ministers to the women in her care. In Jesus’ Name, amen. 

Greg Allen, “Investigators Zero In on Collapse of Surfside, Florida Condo Collapse,” NPR, September 7, 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/09/07/1198296548/surfside-florida-condo-collapse-champlain-towers-south-investigation-nist.

About the Author

Leslie Bennett

Leslie Bennett has led Women’s Ministry in two local churches, and serves on the Revive Our Hearts ministry team. She connects with women’s leaders around the world in the Revive Our Hearts Leader Facebook Group and as host of online training events. A teacher at heart, she is devoted to training and discipling the next generation to treasure Christ above all. Leslie and her husband Mac live in S.C. where she loves spending time with family, and admiring Lowcountry sunsets.