It’s been a while since a wrote a blog. The last time I wrote was on May 12, 2017. 137 days since I wrote the last one.! Life has become busy and a lot of great things happened during those few months.
I’ve been in ministry for a year now from the time I started a church. Life’s been great, in great moments you praise the Lord and in difficult moments you still praise him but you learn how to avoid mistakes and do it better next time.
Winning any game requires you to play by the rules. So is the ministry, if you attain the reward that God has set for you then you have to live by the rules.
I’m going to list five rules for effective ministry. I’ve learned this from:
- Watching my dad lead the church, preach and teach week after week, counsel people and do all the church duties.
- Experience of starting my own church.
I’ll share a few of them today.
1. Be Prepared in season and out of season. (2 Timothy 4:2)
Yes, for those of you who love preaching and teaching. This is for you.! As Pastors, we have one important mandate that is:
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction 2 Timothy 4:2
A few months ago, I felt God talking to me saying, prepare and preach a sermon every day so that you can learn how to preach a sermon better. But, somehow, didn’t obey the instructions. And I paid the price for it.
Here’s what happened.
I was at a friends wedding and all of a sudden we heard the MC invited me and another pastor to come on stage to speak and wish the couple. I tell you, First, it was a Surprise and Second, I didn’t know what to speak in a wedding. I was unprepared. I went blank. However, I went on stage and spoke something.
It was one of those moments I wish I had spoken better. I could have put a small message together in 3 minutes in which I could have blessed the couple with God’s word, and I could have preached the gospel(it was largely a non-believer crowd) and could have inspired them towards a Godly living. But I missed a precious opportunity because I wasn’t prepared.
You see, precious opportunities don’t come every time and when they come, they DON’T give you an advance notice. You’ve got to be prepared.
My Hermeneutics teacher told me that one thing that he does everyday.. is that he prepares a sermon. That’s a great practice. I still remember the kind of exposition and sermon he would preach. It was brilliant.
He did what he could do because he prepared a sermon even without any speaking appointments. He made preaching his lifestyle; something that he incorporated into his life every day.
You never know when opportunities will knock at your door. Be prepared in season and out of season. I believe, God speaks best when you are well-prepared to preach.! Prepare sermons even when you don’t have any preaching opportunities. Those sermons will be the best sermons.
2. Remember there are “Seasons of Waiting” in Ministry.
A Senior Pastor who has been in ministry for almost 25+ years told me, “I wish I had waited on the Lord when God called me to ministry.” He continued saying, because he didn’t wait on God he faced great troubles, some that shook the ministry, and it was beyond what he could bear.
I strongly believe, we have to fulfill God’s will in God’s timing. Many times we make the mistake of fulfilling God’s will in our timing; thinking that this is the best time. But we will face the worst of trials.!
The Season of waiting are those times in life when all you do is pray and read and meditate on the word of God.
One important work that God does to us in the “Season of Waiting” is that he prepares you physically and mentally for what is about to come. Because after the season of waiting, we will experience joyful moments and painful moments too. But we’ll be able to walk through those moments easily if we spend a good time in waiting on him.
If you go through the season of waiting, “God will give you the ability to always focus on Him during joyful moments so that you don’t take the glory for yourself and He will give you the strength to walk and sustain during painful moments in ministry.”
But, if we do not walk through the “season of waiting” we won’t be physically and mentally prepared to face challenges.
Remember, a slow-cooked dish tastes better than the dish cooked in a pressure cooker.
Wait on God and you will see Him open up doors like you’ve never expected.
Are you in a Season of Waiting? If Yes, share your experience in the comments below.
3. Disciple at least one person
God will always give you one person, irrespective of age & background, who you can counsel, teach and nurture.
Jesus said, Matthew 28:19
Therefore go and make DISCIPLES of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Jesus’ command to his disciple was simple. “MAKE DISCIPLE of all nations” In other words, Jesus is saying, Invest what I’ve invested in you.
I tell you this, one of the greatest and highest investments that you can make in ministry is investing in discipling people. They will come to you as a rough rock with sharp edges and it is your responsibility to sculpt them, shape them according to God’s plan.
You’ve got to:
- Counsel them
- Teach them
- Talk about God and spiritual matters (Not Gossip)
- Spend time in prayer
- Encourage them to do what you do
- If you are a good Bible teacher: Teach them how to do it as well.
- If you are a good preacher: Teach them how to preach.
After you do that, step back and look what God will do through them. Discipling is a rewarding job. It’s painful, and it requires lots of patience, prayer, and hard work. But at the end, it’s worth every minute you’ve spent with them.
Discipleship is not only limited to someone who speaks your language or is from your hometown. It may be a person who doesn’t know you or may not even like where you come from. But if God wants you to disciple them. Do it.! You’ll see what God will do through them. You will surely receive the reward for your labor.
4. Form a team who will serve along with you.
Never do ministry as a One-Man show. It’s dangerous.
Acts 6:2–4 MSG
They said, “It wouldn’t be right for us to abandon our responsibilities for preaching and teaching the Word of God to help with the care of the poor. So, friends, choose seven men from among you whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense, and we’ll assign them this task. Meanwhile, we’ll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God’s Word.”
That is what the early apostles did and that is what we are supposed to do.
You may have a congregation with just 5 members…form a team with those five members. Listen to God, ask him for guidance. Each member has a gift, something that they can bring to the table, encourage them to use that. Some may be good in leading worship, some in praying for miracles, some in gathering resources and some in greeting people. Give them responsibilities. Don’t shy away from it.
Jesus had a team of 12, they were imperfect but still did things together. Judas Iscariot, though a betrayer and liar, was in charge of the treasury.
If you want your ministry to grow. Form a team and delegate responsibilities.
As a Pastor, or a Leader you have to ask God to give you the ability to identify the gift that He has placed in others so that you can teach and encourage them to use it more.
You might be able to do all of what your team members can do, probably even better than them but working that way will reduce your effectiveness or your position in the ministry.
Form a team and watch the results.
5. Be careful in confiding secrets or opening up your heart to others
This is one lesson that I’ve learnt in a painful way.
As Pastors and Leaders, we are still humans. We don’t become superhuman beings when we enter into ministry. We want to share what is on our mind with other people. We want to confide secrets.! But No! Be Careful. Never share with anyone.
Because nothing of what you say will be understood or taken in the right way by anyone.
So, Who can you share with?
Share your secrets, share your thoughts with the woman that God has given you. Your Wife.
My teacher who taught a subject on Marriage and Family said, “Man’s biggest need is that he needs a shoulder to lean on after all his work.”
I am experiencing that now. I look for moments at the end of the day to talk to my wife where I can open up my heart with her. I can speak anything I want. I may be right. I may not be right. I may theologically wrong but I still share. Because God has put in her the capacity to listen and comfort me with her loving embrace. That means a lot.!
I’ve seen pastors share secrets and open their heart to people other than their wife. At the right time the very people they shared with, will stand against them and accuse them. In those moments, we as pastors and leaders won’t have anything to say. We’ll be defenseless. I’ve seen this happening. It’s one of those heart-breaking moments in ministry.
God knows our needs as Pastors and Leaders. He has given us a woman called “Wife” with whom we can confide everything. She will listen, understand and will comfort you.
If you are not married share your secrets and open your heart to your parents or your siblings.
I have shared secrets and have opened up my heart to other people and I’m reaping the pain of that even today.
If you want to share. Share only with your wife
So, those were the five rules of effective ministry. I’ll expand this list more and more in the days to come.!
I hope and pray that this will be a blessing to you. If you are blessed, share this article with others and if you have any questions or anything to add to the list. Write them in the comments section below.