Ministry. Those who are leading it always want to see growth. We want to build something successful. Often, though, we either don’t know how or do it wrong.
In our last post we listed 7 Ways to Ruin Your Ministry. Our enemy is subtle and these things can go unnoticed over years of service. Be careful!
The flip side of these habits can do just the opposite for our ministries – build them! Here are some ideas on what I believe are essential “tasks” for the leader:
7 Ways to Build Your Ministry
1. Give yourself to daily time in the Word & in prayer.
I’ve had people tell me that they are in the Word all the time…preparing lessons or sermons. That’s great, but that’s not focused on simply building your relationship with God. Spend time in the Word for the simple purpose of listening to Him speak. And talk back with Him in prayer – something that is way too neglected in ministry. Yet it is the very source of our ability to do anything. As Oswald Chambers said:
“Prayer does not EQUIP us for greater ministry…prayer IS the greater ministry.”
Our ministry ought to flow from our relationship with God, not the other way around.
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2. Consciously check your heart as you serve – do it out of calling & love for others, not for the paycheck.
Professional ministry can be a trap. We are not above or any more special than the folks in the pew. We just happen to also make a living by it. But if we are not called to it, it will eat us alive.
3. Always ensure your family is cared for & given your prime time, not your leftovers. Invest as much in their spiritual formation as the people in your church.
What’s is your intentional and specific plan to invest in your family. Where are the boundaries that are non-negotiable. If they are reasonable yet might cost you your position…maybe it’s time to consider having a heart to heart talk with your leaders, or maybe it’s time to consider moving on. As a ministry leader, you will never regret making your spouse and children your priority.
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4. Learn & practice straight-forward & clear communication skills both in individual conversations & group settings.
I’ve learned that most of “ministry” hinges on communication. Read about it. Study it. Practice it.
5. Learn & practice the art of influence – people should follow you because you’ve cast a great vision for a great cause that they want to be part of, not because they have to.
Do you have a great vision for what God has called you to lead? Can you articulate it well? Does it grow people who are part of it, either as participants in serving or receivers of being served? Influence comes primarily from having a vision worthy of following, and being able to articulate it well and act on it in a way that serves those who engage with it.
6. Invest in the growth of the individual first – your program will grow as a result.
What’s your plan to grow yourself? That’s where it begins. Now what’s your plan to grow others? Build your program around that…not the other way around.
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7. Determine what God has called you to do with your ministry…and do it! Learn from others but never try and reproduce someone else’s ministry in your own.
You are unique and your ministry is unique. This is one of the great joys of leading and serving in ministry! Don’t throw it away by fretting over what the next guy is doing, or worrying about why God seems to be “blessing” (ie. giving bigger numbers) to them. Worry about what God is doing in and through YOU!