Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com
Success in Christian ministry. Whether you are a pastor, church officer, evangelist, Bible teacher, or Christian leader, there is nothing more important than the salvation of the souls of men and women. The question is how to succeed in Christian ministry. Let me explain. This little article is directed mainly toward pastors, but the principles apply to every servant of Jesus Christ.
Our Lord Jesus Christ told us to, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15). What a supreme honor to be considered a servant of Jesus Christ to carry out His will!! You are on a winning team!
Prepare yourself to honor with your faithful obedience to carry out Christ’s Great Commission. God has selected you and put into your heart to preach His Word, and shepherd the flock that God has allotted to you. You have the greatest job in the world.
There are only two things in this world that will last forever: the Word of God and the souls of people. You must be diligent to commit yourself to the wonderful pursuit of investing your time, talent and treasure to focus your life on the pursuit of those two eternal matters. To this end, you will reap abundant eternal rewards. Yes you will!
To succeed in the ministry there are five things you need to excel in. Let me illustrate. A one legged stool will fall over. A four legged stool will rock back and forth and not be balanced. A three legged stool will be stable. Those three legs are needed to succeed in the ministry of God’s Word.
The first leg is to know the Bible. You have started on a long journey of serious study of the Bible. Continue that study for the rest of your time on this earth. I am now 77 years old, and have seriously studied the Bible for over 50 years. God has permitted me to earn two master’s degrees and two doctorates. In all of this study my most delightful practice is to continue to study and learn new things from the Bible. I am still learning and surprised by new things I discover from the Sacred Word of God. The Bible contains the treasure of God’s revelation to us. We must learn what His revelation is, so we can communicate with accuracy God’s truth to His people.
The great Apostle Paul wrote, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
The second leg on our stool is to learn and develop the skill sets and abilities God has given us. We must learn how to plan, how to organize and preach a sermon and teach, how to counsel people, how to manage our time and the church or opportunity God has given to us. We must learn the skill of leading people to Christ. He has given each of you a spiritual gift or ability to minister to His people. We need to discover those gifts and develop them to excellence.
Become skilled in telling people how Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for their sin, rose from the dead to grant us eternal life, and how we must place our faith in Christ to receive the wonderful pardon from a Holy God.
The third leg on our stool deals with relationships. There has always been conflict, jealousy, strife within the church. As leaders we must deal with them. People get divorced or have family problems. Church leaders may become proud and fight against each other. Paul wrote, “being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do; not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:2-4).
Conflict, bad communication, hidden agendas and all sorts of things disrupt the church and cause people to get mad at each other. The church and people’s lives suffer. The Holy Spirit is grieved. Don’t think it strange when heresy or jealousy breaks out among Christian ranks. Look at the epistles: they were written to correct problems of conflict and false teaching. These are the killers of success in Christian ministry.
As Christian leaders, we must learn how to handle those relationships among people. Hostile relationships cause division and hard feelings in churches, eat up our energy, and cause people to leave the church. Conflict also hurts the pastor, Christian leaders, and Bible teachers, and cause stress and bitterness. In fact, that is what the original sin did: ruin our relationship with God. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to restore the relationship between sinful man and the Holy God.
Ok, we have the three legs of our stool nailed in place, but it needs a solid floor to sit on. That is our fourth lesson. That floor deals with our personal, daily relationship with God. Our own spiritual lives need nourishment and attention. We spend time in prayer, personal application of the Bible to our own lives, confess our sins to God, and become more and more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. If we lose our spiritual vitality and power, the three legged stool has nothing to sit on. When we become too busy to have daily fellowship with God, then we are too busy. Spend time before the throne of grace to gain strength and courage.
The Great Commandment from Jesus is this, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30, 31).
Now we come to the fifth thing we need to succeed in the ministry: a mission statement. That Great Commission from our Lord Jesus Christ is, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I command you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
How do we evangelize our area and world? We use every available means at every available time to reach every available person for Jesus Christ. We do this in the power and direction of the Holy Spirit who dwells within every born again believer.
One more thing. We must do all of these things in love. Love your wife and children. Love your pastor. Love the people God has allotted you. Love God. Love the Bible. Love prayer. Love lost souls and win them for Christ. Love your work. Love the church.
There you have it. The three legged stool of success in Christian ministry: gain Bible knowledge, develop your skill sets, and excel in relationships. Cultivate your spiritual life with Christ, and organize yourself and group to carry out Christ’s command, the Great Commission.
May God richly bless you as you continue on your journey of ministry. Your reward will be waiting for you when you leave this earth.
Dr. Willis Newman
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