Are You Struggling With Spiritual Numbness?

Here are some of the areas where I’ve seen church leaders develop spiritual neuropathy.

Are You Struggling with Spiritual Numbness?

Physical numbness is usually a sign of something wrong. Sometimes it’s a minor issue that can be addressed easily, and other times it’s a more serious issue—but it’s an issue either way. On a spiritual level, we church leaders sometimes develop numbness toward differing issues, too. Here are some of the areas where I’ve seen church leaders develop spiritual neuropathy.

  1. Lostness. We’re no longer broken over nonbelievers around us, nor do we weep over the billions of people in the world who know nothing about Jesus.
  2. Church plateau. Gone are the days when we grieved because our church wasn’t reaching lost people; plateau has become acceptable.
  3. Marriage growth. Early on, we want our own marriages to be strong and growing; then, we allow them to settle into the routine.
  4. Divorce. Given culture’s increased acceptance of divorce, we lower our standards for marriage. We’re no longer surprised or wounded by marital breakups.
  5. Family prayer. It’s easy to be committed to it when children are young, but it gets tougher to do as they grow—and we lose our passion for it.
  6. Carnality. Many of us used to grieve the lack of growth we see among believers, but now we simply see it as the norm.
  7. Church conflict. More than one pastor I know assumes that the church will erupt in conflict; they’re just waiting for it to happen.
  8. Worship. It’s all routine now—it’s no longer a genuine, personal encounter with the living God. We’ve grown numb to its mediocrity.
  9. Giving. Many of us give to a certain level, but we seldom challenge ourselves to give until it hurts. We don’t sacrifice to the point of feeling it.
  10. Personal sin. Early on in our ministries, we hurt over our own sin. We wanted to make sure we led out of personal purity—but we numbly conclude, “It’s really not that bad.”

Evaluate your own life in these areas. Where have you grown numb?

This article originally appeared here.

Chuck Lawless
Chuck Lawless is professor and senior associate dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as a pastor for almost twenty years, and is the author of Spiritual Warfare: Biblical Truth for Victory, Discipled Warriors: Healthy Churches Winning Spiritual Warfare, Making Disciples through Mentoring, Serving in Your Church's Prayer Ministry, and Eating the Elephant. Dr. Lawless speaks extensively around the countryYou can read articles from Dr. Chuck Lawless on his personal blog ( ( or connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook. .