Keys to Effective Ministry–Introduction We demand excellence of God! Have you ever thought about that? – We won’t allow him one little mistake! – We won’t allow him one little lie! – We won’t allow him one little failure! Since we expect excellence from God, we should be ready, willing, and dedicated to demanding the highest form of excellence, both from ourselves and the ministry He has entrusted to us. Matthew 5: 48 tells us to Be perfect as our father in heaven is perfect. Ephesians 4:1 instructs as well that we are to–walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we were called. This applies to whatever field of ministry we find ourselves in. It applies both to the lay person, as well as, the fivefold vocational ministry equally. Excellence of ministry – I want that to soak in. You must become willing to demand excellence of the ministries you are involved in. We also want to demand excellence from those that labor with us. The Apostle Paul took the training of his disciples very seriously because he realized that they were handling the mightiest power in the universe. The Gospel is not only the power by which people are saved from hell, it is more broadly, God’s unlimited power to save, heal, and deliver! Paul told Timothy in I Tim. 1:11, that this Glorious Gospel had been “committed to his trust.” As ministers of the Gospel you are entrusted with God’s awesome power and might. You are, therefore faced with two responsibilities: 1) to develop and maintain a ministry of excellence and 2) to deal with satan directly. By virtue of our role as Apostolics, we have been positioned and categorized, particularly as far as Satan is concerned, as some of the most dangerous and often hated human beings on the planet! We pose a serious threat to satan and his people. Our second responsibility then, is to deal with him effectively. Without a firm decision to succeed, with God’s help, we cannot hope to maintain the measure of maturity and perfection that our ministries must command. Not only Born Again and full of the Spirit but knowing how to use the Sword of the Lord and the power of Almighty God to change lives forever. This requires boldness on our part. We represent God’s divine power and authority in this world, the adversary must reckon with us. Romans 1:16 –for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that BELIEVETH; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Now it’s real easy to read right past this verse and miss what the spirit is really saying: Salvation is the great, inclusive word of the gospel, gathering into itself all of the redemptive acts and processes: • Forgiveness, • Justification, • Sanctification, • Grace, • Redemption, • Propitiation, • Imputation • Sanctification, and • Glorification. The Hebrew and Greek words for salvation imply: • deliverance, • safety, • preservation, • healing and • soundness. The gospel is not only the power by which we are saved from hell, it is more specifically: God’s unlimited ability to save heal and deliver in all realms. The gospel is the power of God manifested. If you think about that for a while, you begin to understand the need for a ministry of excellence. A ministry of excellence: – Is built on faith – it absolutely will not tolerate unbelief in itself. – It will not tolerate taking the easy way out. – It does not rely on gimmicks and carnal methods. – It will pay any price to get the job done the right way – God’s way – based on the Word. – It will proudly uphold God’s name and will represent Jesus Christ to the world. – It will accurately handle the Word of God and again. – It does not plan for failure This is not easy to do because as representatives of God, you’re going to have to do twice as much as everybody else. We have to live exemplary lives by a higher standard — the world expects it — God expects it! We have been entrusted with a grave responsibility. Can I just admit to you, I have not always appreciated or lived up to that responsibility and I’ve had to repent. We all have our heroes of the faith we wish we could emulate. But, let me ask you a question: Do we really?! Do we really want that kind of ministry? Are we willing to pay the price to get it? Let me give a Personal example: In High School I was in ROTC, and competed as a marksman, gaining Distinguished Expert status. It was quite common for me to have fellow competitors say to me, “Man, I wish I could shoot like that!” I’d always thank them, politely. What I really wanted to say was, “No you don’t!” “If you did, you’d be up at 5:00 AM to be early enough to school to shoot 100 rounds every morning in order to perfect your technique and you’d stay after school every day to practice again.” The same can be said for golf, tennis, football, or any other sport. You excel at what you’re committed to. Can you say along with me, “I can stand to increase my commitment to effectiveness in ministry?” Success in ministry, as you know, doesn’t come because of personality or great speaking ability. It comes as a result of what you have dedicated yourself to. What do you long to do with this gospel? Not just your good ideas, but what are your dreams!? What will we actually commit to and what will we lay our lives down for? As ministers of the gospel we have been entrusted not only with the truth; we have been equipped with the Lord’s strength and might. Remember, satan is limited, you are not! Your victory is assured, because: Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. and we can say with the Apostle Paul, “Thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph through the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is this ministry of excellence we will be talking about in this book! Key One — Dedication: A Decision, Not a Feeling The first key to effective ministry is dedication. True dedication is a choice – it is a decision of quality. A quality decision is a decision for which there is no turning back. True dedication makes a decision based on one’s commitment to God, rather than on feelings or emotions. It is a decision, that with God’s help, you will never violate: • Men will not be able to change you, • Matters of life and death will not be able to change you, and • Feelings will have no bearing on this commitment. True commitment is like losing the engine in a single-engine airplane – you are committed to land! Feelings of fear, doubt or inadequacy are of absolutely no consequence – you will land that plane. When you accepted the call to ministry, you faced this kind of a commitment. How you handle it now could determine whether you succeed or fail or even whether you live or die. For those of you who consider yourselves lay people or perhaps are newer to the ministry: Take the time to get before God, and dig into the word. Stay there and rest in the Lord, until the Holy Ghost and the Word of God transform your level of commitment. Without this firm, quality decision, Satan will take advantage of every opportunity to make your life and ministry a failure. But remember: God is at work in us both to will and to do for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 He is faithful. He will create in you the power and desire to make that uncompromising decision. When you finally make a full, no quit, no turning back, forever commitment or renew that commitment to God – fulfilling and continuing your calling will be the most exciting thing you have ever done! Don’t be intimidated by the commitment – God has provided the power, furnished the weapons and equipped you with everything you need. It’s the same as when you experience the New Birth. Once you made a quality decision to obey the Gospel, God met you there and he did the rest. His power, His Spirit, and His words performed their functions and you were Born Again. A decision was all it took. Your part is to determine in your heart to obey your calling and God will do his part. What about finding your place in ministry? Each and every believer is anointed and endued with the power to fulfill a specific function in the body of Christ. By the Spirit of God, every individual is able to perform their calling with mastery and excellence. The Bible says in Romans 11:29 that the gifts in the callings of God are without repentance. Whether you are called to the five-fold ministry or to the all-important Ministry of the Saints – the Lord will not revoke your assignment. What is the ministry of the saints? Notice, it’s not, “ministry to the saints.” 1 Corinthians 16:15–I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) Every saint has a ministry calling! He ordained you from the foundation of the world! Consider 2 Timothy 2:20: We’re going to knock a tradition right in the head. “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of the earth, and some to honor, and some to dishonor.” Most times, people will stop reading right there and say, “Well brother you know…” Right there, you know a tradition is coming at you. “Well brother, yes! But you know, we can’t all be vessels of gold. Some of us are meant to be earthen vessels.” We have a word for that in Texas. Hogwash! Satan will always attempt to twist the scriptures to keep believers bowed down with false humility, trying to live for God based on their feelings and their performance. Look at verse 21: “If a man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” It is important to God, that we become vessels of honor – yielded to his word and dedicated to doing his will in the Earth. Here is the important point: Whether you become a gold vessel or a mud pot is not the Master’s decision – it’s yours! A decision for total dedication includes a determination to please God and a commitment to the truth. The decision to please the Father must include the decision to live in victory. God gets no enjoyment from our defeat. He was grieved with the children of Israel because they were overcome in the wilderness. The victory that overcomes the world – is our faith (I John 5:4). Put on the armor of God and fight the good fight of faith. What is a good fight? A good fight is the fight you win! Take control of your life and resist the devil, by standing firm on the Word of God and controlling your feelings and emotions. To control your feelings, you must control your tongue! James 3:2 says that the person who can control his words can gain mastery over his whole body. So, step one is Dedication – make a quality decision and commitment to the word and the things of God. Become dedicated: – Decide to please the father – Decide to walk in victory – Decide to live the life of love – Decide to live by faith Make the quality, no turning back decision, that if your faith won’t get it, then you won’t have it – because you are determined to please God by living by faith. Never go back on your faith!
Dr. Larry Yates is a Minister, Author and Bible Teacher and with Doctorates in Theology, Religion. and Ministry. He is President of Mineola Bible Institute and Seminary in Mineola, TX as well as on the Board of the International Apostolic University-London, in the UK. Additionally, he is a member of the International Apostolic Council.
We desire not only to see believers live victoriously, but to help them become rooted and grounded enough in God’s Word to reach out and teach others these same principles