Seven Habits of Highly Effective Ministers: Part 2
What does it mean to be an effective minister? What things should we bear in mind as we prepare for full time gospel work? How can we make sure our ministry will make an impact for the Kingdom of God? FRANK RETIEF provides us with seven wise habits to adopt as we seek to be effective ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Habit 3: Never be controlled by strong personalities
If you are thinking of any form of Christian ministry, make your mind up right now, that you will never be bullied by strong personalities that you meet in ministry. Rather, make the decision now that you will always try to surround yourself by godly committee members and leaders.
When I was growing up, as a young convert in churches, I observed how often ministers were intimidated by lay people on their parish councils. This was especially the case if a lay person held a senior position in a big firm, but even more so if that lay person had bit purse strings.
It is very easy to give into that kind of intimidation. However, I made up my mind that I could not, and would not ever live like that. I cannot live with people controlling my life because they are powerful in some way or because they are giving money.
In our church today, I will not accept a gift from anybody if it is given conditionally. If a gift is given with strings attached, I will not accept it, no matter what the gift is. I do not want anyone to have control over my ministry except God, the Holy Spirit, and the normal accountability I have to the people around me.
I made the decision in my own ministry that everybody on our committees and on our church council, has got to agree to grow spiritually. They have got to allow me to pastor them as much as I pastor anybody else. Likewise, they have got to be willing to pastor me, to hold me accountable and to help me if they see me making mistakes. We’ve got to grow, do you see? If we stop growing, everything stops growing.
If you are thinking about Christian ministry, promise yourself that you will never ever be controlled by powerful personalities. Rather, always be your own man before God. Likewise, make the promise now in your heart that you will be a person who is always growing spiritually, and that the people that you gather around you will be people who will grow as well.
As far as you can, don’t ever take into leadership people who are not open to change, people who are not flexible, or people who are not consistent or mature in their Christian walk.
Don’t ever take into leadership people who are stingy. Look for generous people. Even if someone does not have much money to give, make sure they have a generous spirit. The spirit permeates everything that happens in the church. When the leadership in your organization has a generous spirit, everybody eventually becomes generous. They become teachable, subject to discipline, willing to live by the rules of the game and willing to be partners with you in the ministry.
Habit Four: Always be willing to face issues head on
If you are thinking Christian ministry, always be willing to face issues and not duck them. Remember that you yourselves must live a disciplined life and be prepared to be brave enough to call people back into line if necessary.
If you ever get into a church, remember our Lord’s charge against the church at Pergamum, in Revelation Chapter 2. His problem with them was that they would not take action against wrong doers. I cannot tell you how many churches I know have been impacted because the leadership has not been willing to face up to the people who are doing wrong in the church. In order that the leaders don’t cause a scandal or rock the boat, they allow all those hypocrites to sit there. We’ve all got hypocrites in our churches, and we are all hypocritical to some level or another, but when you deliberately allow sin to go unchecked and unrebuked in a church or an organization, you are opening the flood gates of problems for yourself.
Frank Retief was a bishop of the Church of England in South Africa, and the rector of St James Church in Kenilworth, Cape Town. This article was based on a n address to Club 5 members in April 1996.