Leadership As A Minister
Have you ever asked yourself how can I improve my leadership as a minister?
Several years ago I had the privilege of working on my doctoral degree at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. During that time I was honored to have Dr. Chuck Lawless as my adviser. Dr. Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary.
Over the years Dr. Lawless has helped many ministers discover and improve their ministry skills. The following article was posted on Thom Rainer’s blog on March 18, 2014.
You have many options to strengthen your ministry. Read a book. Attend a conference. Talk to another leader. Take a class, or earn another degree. Listen to a podcast. Watch a web seminar. All of these are worthwhile options, and I encourage you to consider them.
At the same time, here are some simple ways from the ministry of Jesus to improve your ministry today:
1. Agree up front to be obedient to God. It was in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39), but this cry marked His entire life. He left heaven and set His sights on a cross in Jerusalem from the beginning. Your ministry can be stronger today if you can say with integrity, “Your will be done – whatever that is.”
2. Get over yourself. Jesus was the Son of God, yet He pointed away from Himself to the Father. His desire was to please the Father always (John 8:29), following His commands even to His death (John 10: 17-18). Likewise, the Spirit of God points toward the Son (John 16:14). Decide today that you are not the most important person in your ministry, and your work will be stronger.
3. Teach with clarity and relevance. Those around Him said nobody ever taught with authority like Jesus did (Mark 1:27). He taught, though, with simple images relevant to His hearers. A farmer sowing seed. A mustard seed. Loaves and fish. Vineyards. A fig tree. Salt and light. Moths and rust. Houses and foundations. If you want to improve your ministry today, remember your responsibility is to communicate the gospel, not impress with your knowledge or ability.
4. Take the gospel to non-believers. That’s what the coming of Jesus was all about. He took on flesh to live our life and die our death. Jesus came so sinners could be redeemed. He came for the sick, not for the well (Matt. 9:12). Take time today to tell somebody about the story of Jesus. You’ll likely find your ministry to be much more exciting because you did what Jesus did.
5. Develop gospel sensitivity to others. Maybe you remember the story of the bleeding woman who touched Jesus’ garment in Mark 5. The Lord was quickly on His way to the home of Jairus, where a seeming emergency awaited: a little girl was dying. A large crowd pressed around Jesus, but still He felt the distinct touch of a desperate woman. If you want to strengthen your ministry, ask God to help you today not to walk past hurting people.
6. Take somebody with you when you do ministry. Jesus called His disciples to walk with Him, watch Him, and listen to Him. Paul, too, followed Jesus’ model by sharing his life with Timothy (2 Tim. 3:10-11). Inviting others to do ministry with us is time-consuming and often draining, but doing so is both protective (it provides accountability) and productive (it provides training). Find somebody to help you today.
7. Invest in 2-3 others. Jesus had 12 disciples, of course, but He focused on Peter, James, and John. He took them to the home of Jairus (Mark 5:35-43), the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-13), and the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42). They saw Him in His glory and in His agony. You can strengthen your ministry by deciding to pour your life into 2-3 others today.
8. Release others, and then hold them accountable. Too many leaders select others to serve with them, but then do everything anyway. Not so with Jesus. He modeled faithfulness for His followers, gave them instructions, and sent them as His representatives (Luke 10:1-12). Upon their return, He corrected their misplaced priorities as He held them accountable (10:17-20). Today, let your church members do their work, and then help them through supportive accountability.
9. Pray for your co-laborers. Jesus prayed all night before calling His disciples (Luke 6:12-13). In His most intimate recorded prayer, He interceded for them and for those who would believe through their work (John 17). He taught them to pray (Matt. 6:5-13), including praying for laborers because the harvest is ripe (Matt. 9:37-38). Spend significant time today praying for your co-laborers, and you might find their ministry boosts yours.
10. Get alone with God when you need it. That’s what Jesus did. Even when the crowds wanted to hear Him and the sick wanted His healing, He prioritized time with the Father (Luke 5:15-16). Push away from the crowds long enough to be renewed today, and then get back to the task. Your ministry will be stronger.