So you’re wrestling with a potential call to ministry? With that in mind, I’d love to give you a couple of tips to consider as you pray about a life in ministry – two big ditches that you have to stay out of in order to honor and please God and, even humanly speaking, to be a success.
- Balance the strategic vs. the spiritual
Everywhere a minister turns these days, there’s a new list of things to do in ministry. A new “eight simple steps” for this or that. A new strategy. A new technique. A new prayer of Jabez.
Well, I hate to shatter your preconceived notions, but strategy never beats the spiritual in ministry. You can read the best books, you can get the best education, you can employ the best technique – but it will always, ultimately, be your connection to the Lord and the power of the Spirit that determines the quantity and quality of the fruit that you bear.
I’m not saying you neglect strategy. Nor am I saying you pursue asceticism or pretend to be a monk. But I am saying you can never neglect your personal relationship with Jesus Christ as you travel along the ministry path. Focus on your personal time with God. Your prayer time. Your study of the Word. Memorization of Scripture. The spiritual disciplines.
Keep those things in order . . . and then balance them with good counsel, wise strategy, good planning, and guess what? Good things happen.
But there must be a balance between the strategic and the spiritual.
- Die to self, daily
The biggest challenge for most ministers is the ego. The old devil of pride. It can consume us and dictate how we live and even how we do ministry. It is entirely too easy to make ministry and even ministry success about us, and it can be tremendously self-satisfying to leave a sanctuary or even a hospital room having made a powerful personal impression on someone.
But we’re supposed to be leaving an aroma of Christ. We’re supposed to be bringing Him glory. Not building our own kingdom.
So you must practice a daily dying of self.
Start now. Pray for humility. Don’t make every ministry, or every story, or even every event about you or your personality.
Learn to do things you aren’t good at – that keeps you humble. Take chances. And it’s okay to blush a little when you fail or look like a fool . . . but celebrate those moments, too. Because such moments help you die to self.
Early in ministry, God challenged me to personalize I Corinthians 1:27, where He says, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”
Are we willing to be made foolish, made weak, if that helps Him use us? Learn to die to self, daily.
Written by Greg Sykes, Pastor at First Baptist Church, Russelville, Arkansas