5 Rules for Effective Ministry

5 Rules for Effective Ministry

Hello,

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:

  1. Watching my dad lead the church, preach and teach week after week, counsel people and do all the church duties.
  2. 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:

  1. Counsel them
  2. Teach them
  3. Preach
  4. Talk about God and spiritual matters (Not Gossip)
  5. Spend time in prayer
  6. Encourage them to do what you do
    1. If you are a good Bible teacher: Teach them how to do it as well.
    2. 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.

 

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Total Surrender

Total Surrender

 

A week ago I was listening to Bishop T.D. Jakes quote a verse from 2 Timothy 1:12 and that caught my attention ever since. I am going to write about that today.

2 Timothy 1:12

For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

May God bless you richly as you continue to read this blog.

 

Paul writes this passage from a Prison in Rome. He writes to Timothy, a young Pastor, whom he had trained and appointed at the church in Ephesus. Timothy was more than a fellow co-worker. Paul calls Timothy as a true son in the faith. It’s is clearly evident that Paul’s relationship with Timothy crossed the regular boundaries of a “minister and co-worker relationship.” There were many who worked along with Paul in advancing the gospel but Timothy out of all of them seemed to have caught Paul’s heart that Paul wrote two letters to him to impart the valuable lessons and to motivate and to encourage him in ministry.

At this point in time; Paul is in Prison. So Timothy, his son in the faith, might have been ashamed of his spiritual father, mentor and guide because of his imprisonment. Imprisonment was not something to be celebrated. That is why Paul writes, 2 Timothy 1:8 says, “Do not be ashamed of me(Paul).”

As a young servant of God, Timothy would have been going through emotionally turbulent times. He’s young; not sure of everything that needs to be done; Timothy might have needed Paul the most at this time but Paul is imprisoned; He had very few people to stand with him in ministry; He was concerned about his life and future probably worrying if he would also be imprisoned one day like Paul.

I could sometimes relate with what Timothy is going through; being a young person in the ministry can be heavy lifting task. A task bigger than life; it can be overwhelming and daunting; fear of future could overtake at times.

But Paul as he pens this beautiful teaching to Timothy. Paul knowing what Timothy was going through; Paul does not address the problem directly but turns his focus towards what’s more important. Paul turns timothy’s attention towards life and on the God who leads it.

Paul writes, “For this reason, I also suffer these things; nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day”

Paul begins by saying that he is not ashamed because of one reason. The reason is that he knows whom he has believed and knows for sure that He is able to keep what Paul has committed to him until that day.

When Paul received the calling, he wasn’t a jobless rogue going around the streets causing strife but he was an important and highly respected person in the society. But when God called him, he left the life that he considered worthy of honor and respect to follow God.

When God calls, he begins with an act of surrender. We surrender our plans, desires and will to follow God’s plans, desires, and will. In other words, we are exchanging our life with his life. That is why Paul writes, “I no longer live but Christ lives in me, the life I now live I live by faith in the son of God.”

And so when you think about life after coming to ministry. It is often easy to say, “Oh, I need a build a good life.” I need to make sure I have all that need.” I need to make sure I am financially stable and well to do. I need to make sure I hold an honorable position, status and respect in the society. Eventually, we become so full ourselves in ministry that we still control some part our lives. But Paul lived a life of total surrender. He knew that his life was not his own but that he had given it to the Lord when he found him. So his life was not precious to him nor the pleasures but knowing God and accomplishing his will mattered to him the most. That is why he says,

Philippians 3:7. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ

So when he writes this to Timothy, He writes a very affirmative and a bold statement that his life did not matter to him because he knew who he had given it to. And he knew that God is able to guard what he had committed till that day.

When we look at ourselves. Sometimes there are so many things we could look back and say I wish I had that, I wish that happened in life. We often desire things that we had left for the Lord. Sometimes there is so much of struggle in our flesh that makes us think the past was better than the current times. The past days were simpler than the ones now.

We are stuck in such thinking because we are still holding on to our own lives than surrendering it to God completely. We have not given every part of our life to him. We might have given to God but we are still looking at the past and saying that those days were somewhat good.

We have to arrive at such a commitment to God’s will and plan. Paul did not consider his life precious but knew that he trusts a God who is able to keep his life until that day when he sees him face to face.

I could go on writing more and more about his verse. There’s more to say and learn from this passage but I want to end it saying that our Life isn’t worth living until it is fully surrendered into the hands of God. Because he only can make us arrive at our Goal. Our abilities, our talents, and gifts will never lead us to our goal but only entrusting our lives in God’s hands will bring us that far.

Paul arrived at the end of his life and said, “I have finished my race.”  He was so confident that he had completed what God had wanted him to do.

Let us also arrive at such a point in our life where we can say boldly that I have finished my race because I entrusted my life in the hands of God.

When God calls

When God calls

An intriguing question: How do you respond when God calls?

God calls people to serve him full-time or part-time in the ministry.

Note: This article is written for those who have received a call to ministry and are in the process of giving an answer to the call of God. Also to anyone who is considering to be in the ministry.

“God does not choose people because of their ability, but because of their availability.”
― Brother Andrew (Source)

That is a true statement. If you have ever attended a bible college you would have heard that statement several times, almost every month by the time you graduate. It’s a powerful statement.

Over the years, I have seen several students graduate from the bible college. Unfortunately, most don’t enter into ministry. I am not pointing my finger at them as I write this. But that’s a fact. And I have pondered over that for years. Why don’t people go into ministry after studies if that is what they have trained and prepared themselves for all those years?

In my batch of 36 students, only a few – about 10 of them are in ministry. Some are still studying, some have chosen to be in different organizations.

Well, maybe that’s what they wanted to do.

Jesus said, the Harvest is plenty but the laborers are few. Matthew 9:37.

What does that mean? Jesus is saying, there are people who are longing to know the truth, they are ripe to know God but there is lack of Christian workers who have not yet gone into the field to harvest them.

Oswald Chambers said like this (Source)

“God did not direct His call to Isaiah— Isaiah overheard God saying, “. . . who will go for Us?” The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude.”
― Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

It’s very interesting to understand that Isaiah overhead God’s call for his life. Our response depends on how well our ears are tuned to listen to his call for ministry.

God’s call to ministry is challenging. It’s not a walk to fame, not a walk where people will celebrate you and welcome you. Rather you will find that you will be questioned more and sometimes even discouraged to go into ministry. Instead, if you were to say, I am going to the USA to work; You will be supported, encouraged and even financed by people. You will be sent into the ends of the earth to work and make a living but not so easily for ministry.

Isaiah heard the call of God and answered and did a terrific ministry. He was a prophet. He was one of a kind; spoke the word of God without any adulteration; just the way he received it. Elijah heard the call of God and brought fire down to demonstrate God’s power. Elisha heard the call of God through Elijah and raised the dead to life. And even after his death when a dead man was thrown on his tomb the moment the body touched Elisha’s bones the dead man came to life and stood up (2 Kings 13:21). Moses obeyed the call of God and lead israelities out of EgyptThe disciples of Jesus heard the call and followed him. Paul received the call and did a great ministry among the non-Jewish people. Thomas the disciple of Jesus came to India after he received and call and died in South India as a martyr; the seed of the gospel was sown.

Men and women called by God throughout history have served him. Some were highly educated, rich and influential and some poor and had no education. God used everybody and called them based on how available and prepared they were to hear and obey his call.

The greatest fear today that grips the heart of young people as they think about ministry is this, what will happen to my life. What about my future?; Should I be separated from my parents? How will I meet my needs? How will I feed my family? What about finance?

These are common and practical questions. But often times such questions can be asked with unbelief and doubt in mind. And slowly because of such questions and worries, many fall away from doing the ministry.

One thing we need to get into our minds is this, “When God calls he provides.” He knows what we need even before we ask him. He knows what we need even before we know that we need.

So when God calls, we are to answer, Yes Lord, I will go. Honestly, it’s not an easy one to say. But when you say, this is what it means, “I am now placing my life, my hopes, and my family into your hands. Take me where you want. I will follow you and serve you for the rest of my life.”

I believe we would be surprised if we were to see what God can do with our life if we give it to him fully.

Psalms 34:10 says,  The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

The ones who are strong will lack and suffer hunger but those who look to the Lord will lack no good thing. When you depend on him he will feed you, protect you and take you to places you’ve never imagined and have never been before.

Also, times of testing will come. Times will come when you find yourselves in a tough situation, there will be plenty of need but you may not see any providence. Sometimes we won’t have what we desire. God shapes us throughout those times. He builds our faith and takes us to the next chapter of our journey.

I have met many pastors who left their good paying jobs in private and government firms to serve the Lord. The beginning was tough but now God has blessed them abundantly. My family is a testimony to that. There were tough times as my parents left their jobs and began ministry. Today, we don’t lack anything. We have good food, good house, good clothing and all that we need.

That is how God blesses when we serve him. He is a faithful master who never delays the wages for his workers. He is a father who provides his children without fail. He shepherd who guides his sheep on the right path. He is the protector who protects those who serve him.

Those who serve him never lack anything. They are healthy, safe and sound.!

If you have received God’s call for yourself. Do not hesitate. Say, Yes!

God did not direct his call to Isaiah but he heard and responded because his ears were tuned enough to hear God’s voice.

How are your ears today? Do you hear the voice of God every day? If you hear then be expectantly waiting to hear his call. If you do not hear his voice surrender yourself in his presence and get into the habit of hearing his voice everyday.

I met a dear pastor whom I had met few months before I left my job. At this time when I met, I told him, I am now in full-time ministry. He said these words of encouragement, “Brother, you are now part of a very different class of Soldiers that stand for God.” Those words sank deep into my heart knowing that I am privileged to be in the ministry and to serve him with all my strength.

When God calls, respond. It’s glorious to serve him.

Read about my life here: Grateful for what I am today.

If you have any interesting stories to share or have questions about your call. You can leave them as comments below.