By Paul Giertz
Only God calls people into the ministry. Jonah was called but ran. Joshua and Nehemiah were called by circumstance. Daniel, Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah were called by their integrity. The Bible, and life for that matter, is full of men and women whose calling was predicated by different circumstances; whose ministries were destined by God to meet a particular need. Each by submitting to God’s purpose – served his own generation by the will of God.
Consider Namaan’s wife’s handmaiden. Her name is not even mentioned in scripture. Her task was simply to share the light of Jehovah’s healing power by telling her mistress and master about the prophet in Israel.
Think about Jeremiah. He was smack in the middle of God’s will yet did not have one convert. He in stead was abused, tortured, and mocked. By natural standards, one might conclude that his ministry was a dismal failure. We need to seek to be faithful to His calling not chase after another mark on a man-made measuring stick.
Without a doubt one of the most important aspects of ministry is character. 1 Timothy 3:7 reads, “Also, he must be well spoken of by the people outside the church – those who aren’t Christians – so that Satan can’t trap Him with man’s accusations and leave him without freedom to lead his flock.” (TLB)
When it comes to discerning a man’s character, time is our best friend. Faithfulness, consistency, integrity, in essence, character is seen best through the lens of time. People take a long time to tag someone as a “good man,” however; it takes only one slip of the tongue or ill-timed action to mar a reputation. A good name can be destroyed in the proverbial heartbeat. We need to subject our body and spirit to whatever calling God has for us – even if we are not “there” yet. Establishing a name takes time – so it’s time to be conscious of our name.
When God asked Cain where Abel was, Cain’s reply was the interrogative, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” I suggest that our response as the church of the living God ought to be a resounding “YES!” One can put a thousand to flight two can put ten thousand. A threefold chord is not easily broken. We need to be knit together with the brethren!
Jonathan mentored a young man who was anointed to take the throne that legally ought to have been his. It is essential that there be people in our lives that can mentor us and shape our character! As well, we need peer level influence that will commit to keep us accountable for our attitudes and actions. It is much safer to travel with someone than try to do it solo. Should you get a little off track, it’s easier for an “accountability partner” to help make some adjustments than it would be to repair and restore after devastation.
Jonathan and David knit their souls together. The ministry has some very dark valleys at times. It makes the trip a little more manageable when we have somebody whose soul is knit together with yours. It is important to have someone with whom you can discuss dreams, successes, frustrations, mistakes, and failures. We need some “Brother’s Keepers” in the ministry.
- effective communication
- Preaching – The passionate communication targeting the heart resulting in commitment and challenge – in essence the altar experience.
- Teaching – The anointed instructing in the things of God and scripture that produces character growth and maturity.
- identifying, articulating, and casting vision
- motivating people
- coaching and developing people
- synthesizing information
- persuading people
- initiating strategic action
- engaging (following through) strategic action
- resolving conflict
- developing resources
- acquiring and selecting resources
- delegating authority and responsibility
- reinforcing commitment
- celebrating successes
- decision making
- team building
- instigating evaluation
- creating a viable (working) culture
- maintaining focus and priorities
- upholding accountability
- identifying opportunities for influence
- relating everything back to God’s plan
- modeling the spiritual disciplines
- managing other key leaders
- modeling commitment during difficult times
The skills involved in ministry are the easy part. Anyone can learn the “how’s” of ministry functionality. Only God determines the call. Only an individual can submit his will to allow character to be produced.