Highway to the Danger Zone! [Ten Warning Signs]

Christ-followers drift into the Danger Zone every day and do not even know it. The Danger Zone presents one of the greatest threats to finishing well and hearing the words “well done.”

Many who have entered the Danger Zone look “right” to others. They are those that serve others. They lead. Contribute. Are respected. And have been used by God. But they have plateaued, arrested in their growth and  development, and the days since a time of renewal continue to slip by.

The complexities and the challenges of the day-to-day have begun to erode a once “unshakeable” faith in Christ. Duties, responsibilities and demands are met with struggles with believers and those who say they live in the name of Jesus, past wounds for ministry and community life linger. And then there is the “bad things” which happen to the good people.

Slowly, often unnoticed, yet in very real ways, drift begins to occur. Slow at first, the lack of water and cultivation uproots one’s belief system as questions continue to build and answers fade just as quickly. The scales begin to tip. And just when the voice of God is needed most, even He seems to go quiet.

The TEN Warning Signs of the Danger Zone I have compiled through years of coaching might surprise you.

As you go through this list give yourself the gift of honesty of a response, noting your “first”response is probably the best in light of your current behavior.

  • You live life full, lived at too fast of a pace, very little time left for you.
  • Your life is mostly out of duty / responsibility, rarely about your core passion.
  • You can not remember the last time you experienced a significant time of renewal.
  • You continue to quietly say “later” to God’s challenges to go deeper.
  • You refuse to be intentional in your own personal development.
  • You are face normal threats to your integrity and values, yet notice that you have begun to look the other way.
  • You are surprised by comprise in your thinking, actions and attitudes you earlier would not even entertained.
  • You continue to not address that which is apparent to others, and refuse to come face-to-face with the behavior of the “real” you.
  • You suffer from past wounding, anger and hurt that has you isolated.
  • You are done with the Christian “thing” and have begin to wonder if is as right as when you first believed.

A “yes” response to four or more can mean a drift as begun, moving closer to the dangerous curves on the highway to The Danger Zone.

Here’s another startling truth…

The research (Dr. J. Robert Clinton, The Making of the Leader) indicates that the Danger Zone is in the mid-game and set-up as a result of ministry proficiency. You  knows the ropes, the language, the expectations and the drill to the point that you now run on your natural abilities as opposed to Christ’s presence. What many have not been able to detect, and you have not had the courage to admit… that you have gotten so good at ministry that you don’t need Jesus.

We lose the greatest share of Christ-followers and leaders in mid-stage of the journey. They have grown past what most churches offer, and become one of the growing number of “dones.”  First they are “done” with the Church, and sometimes they move to being “done” with Christ.

Then one day these who now run in the lanes of Danger Zone just disappear.

Can you see the Danger Zone up on the horizon?

There is no quick fix if these characteristics have begun to describe your journey. It took time to drift into the Danger Zone and time to head back. But as I have coached those who find themselves at this place in their journey, here are some first thoughts.

  1. Get yourself to a place of honesty. You are only as accountable as you want to be. First stop, step back and out of the denial, and put your current state up on the table for you to look at and accept. Before there can be any help there must often be a “brutal” sense of honesty.
  2. What got you here will not take you there. The Spiritual Disciplines and tools that you used to dig the older wells and you gave you water may not be the same wells (exercises and tools) you need for your future. The Word is constant, yet even the Word can be approached in new ways.
  3. You do not get to clarity alone. A coach and/or mentor is needed. It takes time to process what has occurred and what new behavior in the future might look like. Others help you see and hear in new ways. Sometimes a Spiritual Director or guide is needed to help you better hear God’s voice, and potentially a counselor for emotional scars.
  4. Courage is best expressed one step at a time. Don’t take everything on all at once. Baby-steps. One struggle or issue at a time. Even if it takes time and well meaning Christians try to rush you, what is important is the direction you are moving.

In the days ahead… its not really a question of whether there any helpful books or resources as much as the courage for honesty. Stopping and see things are they are is the first step to halt the drift. Forewarned, is potentially forearmed.

Here are some links to resources we offer (at Leader Breakthru) that have helped leaders in the Danger Zone:


Terry coaches and mentors breakthrough for entrepreneurial, risk-taking leaders. He has authored several books on leadership and pioneered a variety of leadership development resources and processes with his organization, Leader Breakthru. Terry also serves as adjunct faculty at Fuller Theological Seminary.

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