Ingredients For A Successful Ministry
Ingredients For A Successful Ministry
     This paper is intended to show that the fundamental reason for progress,
effectiveness and success may not be skill, zeal, enthusiasm or effort but
conceptual. That is, the race may not be the swift and the battle may not be to
the strong but time and opportunity may be on the side of those who discern
times, seasons and proper responses. This understanding of Divine purpose,
priority, perspective, privilege, standards and paradoxes is called spiritual
intelligence. Dr. Arnold Toynbee in his massive study of history describes the
rise and extinction of 23 civilizations. The demise of these groups was not due to
adversarial climatic conditions, warring factions nor even rampant disease but
upon two factors: challenge and response. When presented with the necessity of
change, the minority leadership faction of these civilization lacked the ability or
the willingness to respond properly. Progress and succession may depend upon
the ability and willingness to un-learn and re-learn. The crisis of change may
reside in knowing what to retain and what to discard. The conservation of
historic and foundational traditions and the accommodation of new ideas may be
indispensable for the ongoing integrity of any group.
The epistles of Paul contain tremendous wisdom, knowledge, and counsel for
productivity in life and ministry. His writings provide insight into the preparation
necessary; a proper perspective to overcome the perils of the work; the personal
discipline that is indispensable; and the guidelines to anticipate and manage the
unknown. As redeemed people and ministers of the gospel, we all have basic
needs for assurance, acceptance, liberty and wholeness. We do not desire
rejection but until we accept ourselves we will be ruled by the opinions of others.
We desire guarantees for we hope that all our strategies, plans, and labors will
always be successful and productive. However, ministry is risky and there are

occupational hazards and pitfalls that result in disappointments, persecutions,
and even betrayals. We desire freedom to choose our own paths and patterns in
life and ministry but there are times when such privileges will not be present. We
need wholeness of spirit, soul, and body for a healthy temple is indispensable for
healthy work.
We have basic questions and concerns. We want to know if God will help us; if
we encounter an incurable disease will faith in God be sufficient; will we be
abandoned; will we lose all that we have labored to attain; and have we been
believing the wrong things too long. Nevertheless, we have learned that God is
always faithful; that change will not destroy us; that there is no failure if we do
not quit; and that God has the last word in every situation.
Our strength does not reside in our natural abilities but in the power of God and
the willingness to subject our human emotions, attitudes, and behaviors to Divine
principles. Regardless of the issues we encounter and the outcome of our labors,
self doubt is not profitable. We may question our decisions but we must never
question our calI. Personal conviction is more powerful than emotions. We must
be persuaded of His will and help when the dark realities of life and ministry
confronts us.
There are attitudes and behaviors that we have proven to be ineffective and
detrimental. For example, we have discovered that greed consumes; pride
deludes; fear torments; anger confuses; jealousy frustrates; and prejudice blinds
us to the good in people of other races, nationalities, and statuses. There have
been times when our motives and actions have been questioned and even
criticized but God alone knows our heart. Even when our hearts have condemned
us, He is greater than our hearts. There have been seasons when our labors did
not produce the desired results and we were reluctant to “cast the net on the
other side”. At times, those who have labored alongside of us have departed
either by direction of the Spirit, by death or as a result of some disagreement.
Nevertheless, we are never alone and His Spirit always abides with us. We have
learned not to be possessive of the flock of God for they are His people and
leaders. Some things have caught us by surprise and even wounded us. Even

Paul did not anticipate that all in Asia would fall away; that Demas would forsake
the ministry; that John Mark would not continue with him; nor that he and
Barnabas would go their separate ways. In fact, Paul prays for the messenger of
satan that constantly buffets him be taken away, only to be told that Divine
strength is made perfect in human weakness. In his epistle to the Corinthians, he
expresses his disappointment with their questionings his apostolic authority and
that they have preferred false apostles and false teachers. All of this and much
more moves the apostle to write that “we are troubled on every side, yet not
distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken;
cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8,9). Paul is convinced in the message of
the gospel and believes that it alone is the power of God unto salvation
(Rom.1:16). He sets forth the full counsel of God and never subjects his preaching
to lesser ingredients. He is not preoccupied with Satan for he is aware of his
devices. Even though he prays that this messenger of persecution, betrayal, and
resistance to his ministry be taken away, he learns that the strength of Christ is
made perfect in his weakness. And he is not intimidated, threatened, nor
envious of the ministry of others for he is convinced in his call and in himself. All
of these insight are revealed in his epistles.
But the epistles to Timothy offer a galaxy of wisdom and knowledge that explains
how this aged apostle was able to run his race, keep the faith, and finish his
course with productivity and joy. The key points addressed are conviction,
preparation, perspective, persistence, anticipation, memory, and prayer.
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into
the world to serve sinners, of whom I am chief…and I thank Christ Jesus our Lord,
who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the
ministry..who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious, but I
obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief…howbeit for this cause I
obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering for
a pattern of them which should hereafter believe in him to life
everlasting…wherefore I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle…therefore we

both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the
Savior of all men, especially of those that believe…
1 Timothy 1:15; 12,13,16; 2:7;4:10
If one is not thoroughly convinced in the gift and the call then failure is imminent.
One must be persuaded of the authority of the call and the enabling power.
Challenges, intimidations, and even mistakes in the ministry can provoke self
doubt and even disillusionment if one does not know in whom he/she believes
and is persuaded that He is able to keep that which was committed to him against
that day. The perils of life and ministry can raise suspicion in the mind. However,
this inner conviction created by infallible proofs of the call is indispensable for
the journey.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be
ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth…but shun profane and vain babblings
for they increase unto more ungodliness…flee youthful lusts, but follow
righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure
heart…but foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender
strife…but thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-
suffering, character, patience, persecutions, afflictions….till I come give
attendance to reading to exhortation, to doctrine…neglect not the gift in thee,
which was given thee by prophecy with the laying on of hands of the
presbytery…meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy
profiting may appear to all..take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine,
continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear
thee…and the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same
commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also
2 Timothy 2:15,16,22,23; 3:10,11; 1 Timothy 4:13-16; 2:2
There are no shortcuts to preparation. Self discipline, study of the Scripture and
doctrine, and observation of those who have been faithful and productive in
ministry are keys. At times, emulation of others may be an aspect of this

preparation but we must avoid seeking to duplicate the life and ministry of others
without the revelation, gifts and call. Self discovery of our personal gifts and
callings is critical for emulation without revelation can be problematical.
Emotions, attitudes, and behavior must be subject to Biblical principles and not
external environment of experiences and people. Passion, zeal and enthusiasm
are not simply emotions but convictions. Emotion-driven ministry in which
“feelings” are preeminent will become suspect with time. Proposition-based
ministry will be sustained not by emotions but by the internal belief and
assurance of the call. The external world of people, ideas and experiences pose
consistent opportunities for growth. In fact, the dimension of our world will
increase or shrink according to the people, ideas and experiences we include or
exclude. Self discipline is critical. Reaction is weakness while response is
strength. The latter represents the control of our internal environment of
thoughts, convictions, ideas, and behavior while the former indicates the lack

Thou endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ…no man that warreth
entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath
chosen him to be a soldier…wherefore I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even unto
bonds, but the word of God is not bound…therefore I endure all things for the
elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with
eternal glory…yea and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer
persecution..it is a faithful saying, for if we be dead with him, we shall also live
with him…if we suffer, we shall also reign with him.

2 Timothy 2:3,4,9,10; 3:12; 2:11,12
Perspective is the picture we paint of life. It represents the assessment of events,
circumstances and even people. Paul expresses the reality that persecution is a
constantly companion of human obedience to Divine truth. The reality of this fact

mandates that struggles, difficulties, set backs, disappointments, and
persecutions must be viewed properly. When Paul writes that nothing can
separate him from the love of God, he mentions all of the experiences that seek
to do so…..perils, swords, things seen and things unseen……..”For I reckon that the
suffering of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which
shall be revealed” (Rom. 8:18). Paul does not take rejection, criticism, nor
difficulties personally but as a part of the work. He envisions some difficulties are
for a moment while others endure……but none of these things move him. In fact,
he declares that he has learned contentment and how to be abase and to
abound….for he can do all things through Christ Jesus (Phil.4:11-14). And even
when the prophet Agabus declares that bonds and affliction await Paul in
Jerusalem, Paul responds not to the warnings but to a higher call in order to finish
his course with joy.
Paul presents a perspective of full counsel ( ); endurance ( ); foundation (
), and transcendence ( ). Paul stresses the necessity of not getting lost in a sea
of ideas, thoughts, and views but rather to focus upon the essentials of
faith…..Christ came into this world to save sinners and I am chief. Paul
encourages Timothy to endure hardness and not be entangle with the affairs of
this life. The apostle stresses the proposition of the Word and the experience of
the Spirit that came to Timothy through prophecy. Paul admonishes Timothy to
be trans-generational in his thinking. That is, to be able to accommodate people
who think differently without compromising fundamental beliefs.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life….Hold fast the form of sound
words, which thou has heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus…that
good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which
dwelleth in us…preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove,
rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine..but watch thou in all things,
endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in
thee by the putting on of my hands…..

This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which
went before on thee, that thou by them mightiest war a good warfare……
1 Timothy 1:6, 18; 6:12; 2 Timothy 1:13,14; 4:2,5
Faith is a comprehensive word into which other words must fit such as
knowledge, benevolence, kindness, patience and persistence. Persistence means
to hold up under stress. The motive for this virtue is revelation. Paul cites
prophecy as the guiding light, incentive and motive for this endurance.
Maintaining a consciousness of that moment in time when clarity regarding gift
and calling was evident is critical. For Paul, memory is indispensable for
appropriate behavior. Regardless of the challenges and mistakes in ministry,
there is no failure unless you quit. Hastiness and impulsive behavior is not
productive. One must subject human emotions and feelings to principles and not
react to the external environment. Faith is not an emotional word. Once again,
reaction is weakness while response is strength. Reaction occurs when our
internal environment is not established on correct principles. When the goal
before us is greater than the options beside us then there will be consistent
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured
the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…..for the time will
when they shall not endure sound doctrine but after their own lusts shall they
heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears….now the Spirit speaks expressly
that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing
spirits and doctrine of devils…
2 Timothy 3:1 ; 4:3 ; 1 Timothy 4:1,2
It is believed that faith enables us to expect only good and profitable things and
events. However, by faith we can anticipate the unexpected and the undesirable.
If we anticipate difficulties and challenges, then their presence will not

overwhelm us. For example, it is the norm to rejoice when people join our
ministries and to become saddened when they leave. But the opposite should be
true. We should be concerned when they join for that is when the challenges of
training and discipleship begins. We should rejoice when they leave for the work
is complete.
It is not our ministry but the Lord. T.L. and Daisy Osborn, who ministered to
more people face to face than any their contemporaries, emphasized that the
ministry is the Lord and we should not rejoice over a miracle nor be saddened
when a miracle does not happen.
Paul stresses the activity of the Holy Spirit to give us recall and anticipation. Our
faith equation should include hindsight, foresight and anticipation.
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God which is in
thee by the putting on of my hands…this charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy,
according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them
mightiest war a good warfare….
2 Timothy 1:5,18
It is possible to have memory without faith but it is impossible to have faith
without memory. Faith is a product of historic facts that have already occurred.
The willingness to recall events, prophetic words and promises are the means by
which faith operates. Forgetfulness and memory loss are the ingredients of
doubt, fear, and disillusionment. So it is import to record by pen and memory the
experiences that have occurred in order to contend with events that shall come.
There are some memories that will neither fade nor be wasted. Memories are
like currency that purchase confidence, assurance, and even wisdom in the
future. Memories must speak to dreams and history must communicate with the
future. Memories have realities while dreams have possibilities.

I exhort therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving
of thanks be made for all men…I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting
up holy hands without wrath and doubting..I have remembrance of thee in my
prayers night and day…
1 Timothy 2:1, 8; 2 Timothy 1:3
Prayer reveals our concepts of God. Our verbal expressions testify to our realities
and understanding of Divine things. Prayer is indispensable for life and ministry.
It is communion with God for revelation, insight, perspectives, provisions,
direction, counsel, clarity, and help for others. Prayer is a dialogue and not a
monologue. That is, we should listen and speak. But there are two prayers that
God will not answer. He will not answer any prayer that request Him to do what
He has enabled us to do. And He will not answer any prayer that request Him to
do what He has deemed finished. The latter correspond to request for more
power and authority when it has already been given. The former refers to
patterns of thought, behavior, and attitude over which we have control. God will
not change our mind nor our disposition. Paul prays for the form of sound words
and doorways of utterance. He asks for wisdom , counsel, understanding, and
opportunities to proclaim the gospel. But remember that his request for
deliverance from certain challenges was answered with revelation……Divine
strength is made perfect in human weakness.

May these insights from Paul enable us all to fight a good fight, and finish our