Boundaries & Accountability – Part 1 (Plagiarizing Leaders)

The most effective leaders I know are those that have strong boundaries around their personal life. Today, I want to talk about plagiarism among leaders. I’ve been involved in ministry for over 10 years and it’s amazing to me of how many pastors plagiarize when they write and develop their sermons.

It is said, “If a pastor copies from one source, it’s plagiarizing. If he copies from multiple sources, he’s researching.” How pathetic.

Now, I’m not against researching if it’s used with integrity. Since equipping leaders with resources is a big part of what I do, I consider myself a content distributor. Which means I have a passion to expose young leaders to other pastors, churches, business tools and resources in the Body of Christ globally. But, when I do this, credit is always given.  I believe it is important that we give credit where credit is due.

Giving credit to a leader does several things:

  1. It gives honor to the leader or organization who came up with the idea
  2. It shows humility and security
  3. It exposes your audience to other leaders, thinkers, pastors and churches.
  4. It removes any doubt of copying

The most dangerous thing about plagiarizing, especially in ministry is that it proves that you have not been spending enough time in God’s Word or in His presence. It also proves that you have stopped learning. If you are a leader and you have stopped spending time in God’s Word and have stopped learning, then you have stopped growing.

Your Thoughts?

4 replies
  1. Daniel Johnson
    Daniel Johnson says:

    If pastors are all teaching G-d’s Word, the Bible, then aren’t we all plagiarizing?

    Are pastors really called upon to create new ideas and ways of thinking? G-d is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Maybe our examples are stories and differ, but the message is always the same.

    Copying and pasting someone else’s sermon and calling it your own would certainly lack in character, but we also use lesson plans that others provide us, don’t we? When G-d gives someone revelation, he or she should share it with others so that it resonates within them and they too can share that same message. I hardly see that as plagiarizing.

  2. David Lawrence
    David Lawrence says:


    Sharing someone else’s message or revelation is not plagiarizing, unless you call it your own. I am all for using other resources and tools to teach lessons, but give credit where credit is due if you didn’t write it. That’s what this blog was about!

  3. mike collins
    mike collins says:

    “If you copy something, make it better.” -Ed Young
    Ironically I know I am misquoting him. ha!

    What do guys who’ve been in ministry over 10 years say about this topic?

  4. RArenueMe
    RArenueMe says:

    What company are you with, what will you be quoting and please give a link to the website you will be quoting us on……once I receive this information, I’ll submit your request and get back to you…..Thank you for asking!


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