Here are eight miscellaneous bits of advice for anyone involved in local church ministry.
- Don’t try to build a great church; purpose to build great people. My goal has never been to build a large church, but to grow and edify people. Numeric growth doesn’t always speak to the spiritual health of the people in the church. Pour your life into people. Love them, encourage them, disciple them.
- Sunday’s success begins before Sunday! To me, every day leads to Sunday. Tuesday’s preparation is vital for Sunday’s success. To be ready to minister to God’s people on Sunday, I must be engaged in ministry—soulwinning, sermon and lesson preparation, prayer, etc.—all week long. I have told our staff, you can gauge how fully your heart is in local church ministry by how frequently you connect what you do throughout the week to Sunday.
- People will follow leadership more than they will listen. The Sunday school teacher can talk about soulwinning, prepare thoroughly researched lessons about evangelism, and deliver passionate pleas for the state of those without Christ. But if he never goes soulwinning and never leads people to Christ, his lessons will fall on deaf ears. People do what people see.
- Be a grace-giver, not a score-keeper. Refuse to hold grudges. When someone has rubbed you the wrong way, when they’ve deliberately hurt you, drop the offense. When you are in ministry, you can’t afford to limit the Holy Spirit’s work in your life. God’s given you grace; give some to others.
- There is tremendous potential in the church. Ministry isn’t about a few people doing all the work of a local church. It is about equipping the members of a local church to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12). To do this, you must involve people. Love them, believe in them, train them, and invite them to serve alongside you. Don’t limit people from their potential to serve.
- Don’t be a lone ranger. It is sometimes easier to just do a job yourself—the first time. But in the long run, it is better for you and for those you serve if you develop a team around you to help with projects. This is how biblical growth can take place. Also, the ministry will be broader and better when you share it with others.
- Godly moments have life-changing potential. I believe that God can change the course of a life in a moment. One Sunday night service, one week at teen camp, one statement in a Sunday school lesson—the Holy Spirit can use His Word to penetrate a heart and work eternal change. This makes every message important; and it makes me purposefully encourage people to expose themselves to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.
- The church is Christ’s, not mine. In one sense, we should cultivate an “ownership mentality” for assigned areas of ministry. That is to say we should be personally invested, responsible, and accountable. But in truth, we are only stewards of the ministry. The church is Christ’s, not ours. The finances, buildings, people—all of it belongs to God. I want all I do to bring honor to Him!