Every Christian has been called by God to minister to others. How well we fulfill that ministry is dependent on how much we rely on Him. As we follow God, He will lead and equip us. He will cause us to be successful in our ministries. Scripture gives us the keys to effective ministry.
To have a successful ministry, we must first recognize that our ministry is from God. It is not something we dream up or make happen. God says,
“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you.” John 15:16
God chose us to go and bring forth fruit for His name. He is the One who calls and equips us. The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit gives each of us the gifts that we need to do the ministry He assigns. That is why this verse says, “whatever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you.” God answers our prayers when we ask to be equipped for His work.
Second, we must have faith. We must believe that we are able to do the ministry we have been given.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Paul suffered many things for the sake of ministry, but he learned that he could do all things through Christ. Christ gave him the strength to face each challenge and persevere in ministry. He used that strength to continue working even when opposition came. We too, must rely on Christ to give us strength to fulfill the work.
The next key to successful ministry is to focus on Jesus, not ourselves. John the Baptist was doing the work of God. He was exactly where God wanted him, teaching exactly what God commanded; yet when he saw Jesus, he said,
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
Ministry is never about us. It is about God accomplishing through us what He wants to accomplish. We are vessels to be used by Him. Our ministry is to bring Him glory. All our focus should be on serving Him obediently and laboring to accomplish His will, while seeking no attention for ourselves.
We accomplish ministry because it is God who works in us.
“For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
For ministry to be successful, God must be the leader. He will show us what to do when we seek Him in prayer. The greatest work of ministry is prayerfully waiting for Him to reveal His will. A soldier cannot not march forward, if he has not received orders from his commander.
Once we have received our orders, we must steadfastly obey.
“For this I labor [often to the point of exhaustion], striving with His power and energy, which so greatly works within me.” Colossians 1:29 (AMP)
Do you labor to the point of exhaustion in ministry? That is what Paul said he did. Our work for God sometimes includes difficult or unpleasant tasks. God will give us the strength we need to persist in ministry. We strive with the power and energy which He provides. He calls, equips, and sustains us in His work.
We can be confident that God is going to accomplish in us and through us the work that He has planned.
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
God is not a quitter. Even when we get discouraged and want to give up, God will keep striving with us and for us to continue the work. Although God doesn’t need us to do the work, He wants to share the work with us so that we can glory in what He does. When we cooperate with Him, we will see Him accomplish through us what He alone can do.
Finally, we must never place ministry above our relationship with God.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.” Psalm 37:4-5
Our delight must always be in God. We must continually strive to love Him more. We must seek Him and want Him more than we want a successful ministry. As we desire God and seek to commit our ways to Him, He will cause our hearts to want what He wants. Then, and only then, can He safely grant us the desires of our hearts.
Memorize and meditate on these verses. Applying them to your current ministry will increase your effectiveness for God.
What other verses has God used to equip you for ministry?