11 Ways To Be A Good Minister

© Lori Oxford Photography

Here are 11 ways to “be a good minister of Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 4:6)—

  1. Know the Scripture well enough to point out false doctrines (vv. 1-6a)
  2. Be a good teacher (v. 6b)
  3. Train myself to be godly (v. 7)
  4. Take care of my physical health (v. 8)
  5. Put my hope solidly in God (vv. 9, 10)
  6. Set an example worth following (vv. 11, 12)
  7. Use the Scriptures in everything I preach (v. 13)
  8. Turn my God-given gifts into strengths (v. 14)
  9. Have a good work ethic (v. 15a)
  10. Be consistently growing (v. 15b)
  11. Carefully and prayerfully evaluate my doctrine (v. 16)

8 Ways Pastors Can Minister Like The Apostle Paul

PreachingThe Apostle Paul reminded the Thessalonians of how he ministered among them (“You know…” [1 Thessalonians 2:1]). This gives all of us pastors now an example of how to minister.

(1) “With the help of God we dared to tell you His gospel” (v. 2). I cannot minister out of my own strength; everything must flow from God’s strength.

(2) The message “does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you” (v. 3). I must constantly allow the Holy Spirit to check my motives and check my theology.

(3) “We speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel”( v. 4a). I am merely a vessel that God chooses to use to share His gospel. This must keep me humble.

(4) “We are not trying to please men but God, Who tests our hearts” (v. 4b). I minister only for God’s approval, only for the applause of Nail-Scarred hands. “We were not looking for praise from men” (v. 6).

(5) “We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children … We dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God” (vv. 7, 11, 12).

(6) “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (v. 8). Paul didn’t just show up to preach, but he was in day-to-day interaction with the saints.

(7) “We worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you” (v. 9). My salary should not be too much of a burden for my congregation.

(8) “Holy, righteous and blameless we were among you” (v. 10). My life of integrity adds weight to the message that I preach (v. 5).

May all of us who are pastors live and minister like this!

Praying For Your Congregation

I heart my churchPastors often ask for their congregation to pray for them. This is a good thing! But the Apostle Paul gives pastors a model for praying for their congregation.

In his letter to the Church at Philippi, Paul says, “And this is my prayer…” (Philippians 1:9).

First, notice the motivation for Paul’s prayer: thankfulness. He’s not skeptical nor cynical. He doesn’t browbeat them for any shortcomings. He doesn’t think, “Ministry would be great if it weren’t for these people.” No! He was full of thanks that bubbled up in joyful prayer for these precious people (vv. 3, 4).

Paul also had an attitude of confidence for this congregation. He believed they could carry out ministry responsibilities, and that in the process they could continue to mature in Christ (vv. 5, 6).

Paul had affection for this church: he really liked these people! It’s one thing to love someone (after all, Jesus commanded us to do that), but something entirely different when we like being around people. The King James Version says Paul greatly longed after these folks. The Greek is even better—it says he doted on them (v. 8).

With this in mind, look how Paul prayed for these precious folks on whom he doted. He prayed that…

  • …their love might abound
  • …they would increase in knowledge and insight
  • …their level of spiritual discernment would help them always see the best
  • …their purity and blamelessness would remain intact all the days of their life
  • …they would be filled with God’s righteousness
  • …they would bring glory to God

Pastor, this is a great prayer to pray over the precious people on whom you dote!

Preach Like John

John the BaptistThis is a post for my fellow preachers (but the rest of you are free to listen in as well).

When Jesus says someone is the greatest preacher in history, it gets my full attention. Think about what John didn’t have…

  • No church building
  • No platform or pulpit
  • No worship team
  • No sound system
  • No Logos software
  • No library or study
  • No commentaries
  • No PowerPoint or handouts

He only had the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

His sermons were thoroughly grounded in Scripture (Luke 3:4-6).

His sermons were anointed by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:66).

His message was simple: “Repent from your sins, and produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:3, 8).

His messages prompted people to ask, “What should we do?” and he gave them Spirit-anointed answers (Luke 3:10-14).

His messages “exhorted the people” and brought “the good news to them” (Luke 3:18).

His sermons unashamedly called out sin (Luke 3:19).

And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:17)

Fellow preachers, may we be of the same spirit in our preaching!

7 Quotes For Preachers

PreachingI love getting counsel from been-there-done-that people, because I’m always looking for ways to grow and improve. I was reading these quotes for myself, but I thought my fellow pastors might enjoy them as well.

“A sermon is not like a Chinese firecracker to be fired off for the noise which it makes. It is the hunter’s gun, and at every discharge he should look to see his game fall.” ―Henry Ward Beecher

“That is not the best sermon which makes the hearers go away talking to one another, and praising the speaker, but which makes them go away thoughtful and serious, and hastening to be alone.” ―Gilbert Burnet

“Great sermons lead the people to praise the preacher. Good preaching leads to people to praise the Savior.” ―Charles G. Finney

“The priests have so disfigured the simple religion of Jesus that no one who reads the sophistications they have engrafted on it, with the jargon of Plato, or Aristotle, and other mystics, would conceive these could have been fathered on the sublime Preacher of the Sermon on the Mount.” ―Thomas Jefferson

“The sermon edifies, the example destroys. Practice what you preach.” ―Abbé de Villiers

“Once in seven years I burn all my sermons; for it is a shame if I cannot write better sermons now than I did seven years ago.” ―John Wesley, in his journal

“It is a poor sermon that gives no offense; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher.” ―George Whitefield

The Fearful Privilege Of Being A Pastor

PreachingI was studying the life of the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, and I jotted down some thoughts in my journal of what God was speaking to me. But I also felt like this was a message for my fellow pastors as well. So here are my unedited thoughts, just as I penned them in my journal. 

The Lord said to me, “Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you….” (Ezekiel 44:5).

I have to take personal responsibility for this. This is not something I can pass off to anyone else―“instead of carrying out your duty in regard to My holy things, you put others in charge of My sanctuary” (44:8). No, never!

I have been given the privilege and heavy responsibility for souls in this community. I must, therefore, hear what God has to tell me about this city and these people. He knows, and He wants to share with me. He calls me to look carefully, listen carefully, and give careful attention to what He’s saying. He is desirous that everyone in this community will see His radiant glory (43:2), and―wonders of wonders!―He has asked me to deliver His message of life to my community.

Who am I that You would choose me? But you have, and I am grateful. I am also filled with holy dread that I carry out my duties in a way that pleases and glorifies You, my King. I need Your help. I need to hear Your voice. I need Your Spirit to stamp the image of Christ ever more clearly in me.

May I only live to bring You praise!

10 Quotes For Pastors From “Living A Prayerful Life”

Living A Prayerful LifeAs I mentioned in my book review of Andrew Murray’s A Prayerful Life, this book was written as a response to pastors who were concerned about the lack of effectiveness in their ministry. Pastor Murray called out the sin of prayerlessness as the main factor in their struggles. Here are some quotes from this book specifically to pastors.

“The enemy uses all his power to lead the Christian—and above all, the minister—to neglect prayer. satan knows that however admirable the sermon may be, however attractive the service, however faithful the pastoral visitation, none of these things can damage him or his kingdom if prayer is neglected.”

“The pastor’s highest calling is not preaching, or speaking, or church visitation, but it is to cultivate the life of God in himself daily, and to be a witness of what the Lord teaches him and accomplishes in him.”

“Here on earth I may expend my time in exchange for money or learning. The minister exchanges his time for divine power and the spiritual blessings to be obtained from heaven. That, and nothing else, makes him a man of God and ensures that his preaching will be in the demonstration of the Spirit and power.”

“Many pray for the Spirit that they may make use of Him and His power for their work. This is an entirely wrong concept. It is He Who must use you. Your relationship toward Him must be one of deep dependence and utter submission. The Spirit must have you completely and always and in all things under His power.”

“When the Lord promised the apostles that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and commanded them to wait for Him, it was as though He said: ‘Do not dare to preach without this power. It is the indispensable preparation for your work. Everything depends on it.’”

“Little time in the Word together with little prayer is death to the spiritual life. Much of the Word but little prayer yields a less than healthy spiritual life. Time spent in prayer with little time in the Word yields life, but without steadfastness. A full measure of the Word and much prayer each day produces a healthy and powerful life.”

“The preacher must come to see that his preaching is comparatively powerless to bring new life until he begins to take time for prayer.”

“All you who long for blessing in your ministry, He calls you to abide in Him. Let it be the greatest delight of your life to spend time with God; it will be the surest preparation for fruitful service.”

“As a minister of the gospel, have you ever considered why you have a salary and a place to live, and so are freed from the need of holding a regular job? The reason is so that you can continue in prayer and the ministry of the Word. These will give you the necessary wisdom and anointing for your work. And that is the secret of a fruitful ministry. No wonder there are often complaints about the ineffective spiritual life of a minister and his congregation. That which is of prime importance—perseverance in prayer—does not occupy its rightful place.”

“The great question is: Shall we earnestly set ourselves to win back again the weapon of believing prayer that satan has, at least in a measure, taken away from us? Let us set before ourselves the serious importance of this conflict. As far as each minister is concerned, everything depends on whether or not he is a man of prayer—one who in the inner room is clothed each day with power from on high.”

To read some of the other quotes I shared from this book, please click here. And to read my full book review of Living A Prayerful Life, click here.

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