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By Chuck Lawless

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.

Tell us which of these ten you want to work on, and we’ll pray with you.


Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

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photo credit: Elvert Barnes via photopin cc

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Comments

  1. steve says

    3. Teach with clarity and relevance.
    Knowledge and learning go hand in hand. Teachers must be able to communicate a love for knowledge and learning to be effective. (Proverbs 18:15 – The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks it.) This does require an understanding of the audience so that a kind-hearted and compassionate approach can be applied. Jesus captured the attention of the entire world, including both voluntary and involuntary audiences. Some sought salvation while others were unwilling to hear Him. Nevertheless, all were interested in Him.

    Perhaps it is because He related to them on a level they could understand. He never belabored a point – think of the brevity of the beatitudes. He taught with authority because people are more interested in listening to those of authority. And, Jesus was relational – He showed interest in what people were doing. Jesus was a peripatetic teacher – willing to “go.” Jesus was willing to socialize with influential and lowly people alike. He wasn’t concerned about what others thought, He communicated truth to all.

    Teachers must be willing to adapt to their audience. Jesus accomplished this as a humble servant, riding not on a great stallion, but on a lowly colt of a donkey. I pray that I could be a teacher after the Lord’s heart -a teacher with a strategy and diplomacy supported by both objectives and a means of attainment. I pray that the Holy Spirit give me a boldness to reach out to all people with the good news of Christ Jesus.in a Christ-like way..

    Thanks for your prayers and all that you do in Christ Jesus name.

  2. Marcus Dorsey says

    Thanks Dr. Lawless. This could not have come at a better time in my ministry and to me personally. I have had a desire in my heart to find ways I could be more effective in my ministry. Reading this has given me new vigor and a renewed optimism.

  3. Pastor Charles Stewart says

    Wow, as a new ministry I was trying to figure out a way to improve the ministry on every level. And I must say that each point you mentioned is vitally important, so much that It would be difficult for me to select a few. Thank you so much for sharing valuable information.

  4. says

    Glad I cannot keep a New Years resolution of not reading lists of things I must do now….. Thanks for this Dr. Lawless. #4 seems like a gimme, but is foreign to many long time “church folk”.

  5. Kimberly Brumm says

    Great list, I’m printing it off as a reminder of all those to include as part of the journey, not only for care but also for raising up as leaders. My focus in the next quarter is worship. Thank you and God bless.

  6. says

    i need #10 to be a non-negotiable reality.
    to my shame and peril, too many days go by where “i’ll get to it after i finish _____”, turns into “i’ll make up for it tomorrow…”

  7. Mark says

    Number 3 is the biggest one, teach with relevance. If people can’t figure out the relevance of what you just said, they will wonder what good it did for you to talk about it and may feel like they wasted their time.

  8. Emilio Aviles says

    Develop gospel sensitivity to others. This is huge for me because I know I’ve gotten so busy “doing ministry” that I miss hurting and lost people. I ask God to make me sesitive to his Spirit when I’m around people. Please pray for me.

    Thanks!

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