Lately, I have not been writing many devotionals because I have been studying hard to graduate with my master’s degree. While doing so, I have been so focused on doctrines and the complexities of theology that I have been having issues relating to those I am called to minister to. While doing laundry today I prayed. I asked God to provide me with the wisdom to be a better husband, father, and minister. I have been trying so hard to balance being a full-time student, husband, father, and minister and to be honest, I have felt that I am missing the mark at times. However, after I prayed, I opened up my Bible to do my devotional time and I read 1 Corinthians 9:22-23. Then it hit me like a brick! The Lord gave me the solution to a problem I was pretending not to have because of my pride. I need to get back to the basics of ministry and leave the complexity of theology for school and get back to the foundational principles that made me an effective minister, to begin with. It is these five principles that I want to share with you all today.
It is written, “To the weak, I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may, by all means, save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it,” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23, NASB).
Find a common ground with everyone you meet. I am a strong believer that you can start a conversation with anyone. My wife tells me often that I have never met a stranger because of this principle. Do not be afraid to engage others to find a commonality. It may take time, but when it comes to ministering, it is a requirement.
Humility is key when communicating with people. You never want to have or give off a know-it-all mentality, especially when trying to minister to an unbeliever. This is key for having an impactful conversation with someone. You want people to not only hear your words but respect them as well. So, when you communicate with someone, always do so in a loving manner.
Always make sure to make the people you are in contact with feel accepted and loved. Whenever you engage someone, you must always remember that they are a person you want to help find salvation and not a number. It does not matter how many people you have saved or how many people are in your congregation. When you are ministering to someone, they are the sole focus of your ministry. Treat that person as if they are the only member of your congregation.
Try to have a sensitivity to what people are dealing with and try to meet their needs. These needs can be physical, emotional, or spiritual in nature. Sometimes people do not want someone to solve a problem for them, but in actuality, they just want someone to listen to them. Sometimes people have a physical need that needs to be met such as food, water, or clothing. Other times, people are dealing with real spiritual needs. An effective minister must be able to not only be able to identify what a person’s needs are but to have the sensitivity to show compassion and not pity for others.
Look for opportunities to share Jesus Christ with others. This does not mean shove religion down people’s throats, but to emulate the qualities of Jesus. Share his love, compassion, and mercy. This could also be an opportunity to share one Bible verse with someone having issues to lift their spirits, help them with comfort, or to encourage them.
Even though I am sharing with you all the five principles that came into my heart, it takes time and dedication to actually do them. We learn from Paul’s commitment to his ministry that it requires personal discipline. In fact, Paul compared this discipline to that of an athlete that is striving to be the best in his or her field. Like Paul, we have to be willing to give up certain thoughts and actions to win the prize, and that prize is helping someone find and build a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I pray that these Principles help someone today to get back to the basics. If anyone wants to add or share a personal experience relating to this post, please leave a comment. I would love to hear how the Lord is working in your life. God bless you all!