What does your ministry look like? Every Christian, every born again believer, has a ministry given to them by God. A purpose for your life that will further God’s kingdom. He has placed you in your home, office, school and given you friends and allies. But for you to succeed in your ministry, it takes more than you just hearing the call or saying, “well I showed up but nothing happened”. To be effective, to fulfill God’s calling for your life, you need to (from Romans 12:1-2 ESV):
“…lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…
We need to be seeking to win the prize! Jesus’ ministry certainly exuded that – he would not allow crowds, religious leaders, naysayers, hunger, storms, or anything else to stop him from continuing to be about his Father’s business. He knew his calling and sought to fulfill it every day to the best of his ability! So, what does it mean to have excellence in ministry? It means, in everything that you do, you endeavor to have the highest quality and integrity. It is never subpar or mediocre in any way. Excellence stands above the rest. I believe that is why we are told:
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. (Colossians 3:23)
In ministry, this manifests as a desire to reach toward God, rather than get something from God. That’s why we do not promote ourselves or try to force success. God is at work, and we are reaching towards Him! So, what are some steps that we can take to help us in this endeavor?
- Be dedicated. Be dedicated to God and serve Him in everything you do. We don’t need to plan to fail because as we reach towards God, He gives us what we need to succeed (Romans 11:29). You are responsible for how you handle your ministry, and to what degree you dedicate yourself. When you stand before the Lord, you will give an answer, not for what you intended to do, but for what you did with what He has given you and how you answered His call. Therefore, be single minded in the Lord. If you drive a car without a single destination in mind, you’ll be zigzagging and driving in circles. You won’t get anywhere! But when you have singleness of purpose, everything you do will drive you in that one direction. What is your single purpose?
- Remember the people around you. You are not called to complete tasks just so they can be completed. You are not called to preach the gospel just so the words are said. As a minister of God, you are called to love others. To meet their needs. Jesus didn’t just teach, he also served and ministered to the hurting and outcast. Many lose sight of this purpose. They get distracted with the number of people responding to them, the budget, projects or publicity. They don’t mean to, but sooner or later, they forget their purpose—to meet the needs of people.
- Follow God’s leading. Because God called you into ministry, and planned out what he would have you do, listen to Him! We like to do a lot of our own planning and figuring, but excellence and success in ministry comes from God, not us. If you lean on your own understanding, it’s only a matter of time before you fall flat. He has given you the Holy Spirit—to guide you, instruct you and keep you on the path He has planned. So, spend time in prayer, and also time listening to Him. Then, learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit that lives in you.
- Continually purify yourself of the things that would bind you. Excellence in ministry requires an excellent spirt in every area, especially your own conduct. Oral Roberts once said, “If we demand excellence out of the students at Oral Roberts University, then we have to live by excellence in front of them.” How would you achieve this? By living as someone that is in the world but not of the world! By laying aside everything that would hinder you. (Hebrews 12:1) Jesus said the cares of the world will choke the Word (Mark 4:19).
- Look to God and His Word. Hide God’s Word in your heart and exalt it in your life and ministry. In any area of your life, if there is ever any doubt about which direction you should be headed, look toward the Word to direct you. Put the Word first. If you do this, everything else will take care of itself.
Striving alongside you for the prize, Jay