As a minister of the gospel, you have been called to a high and holy calling. God has entrusted you with the precious task of caring for His flock and preaching His word. This is an immense privilege but also a sobering responsibility. As you shepherd God’s people, it is essential that you continually look to His word for guidance and instruction. The Bible has much to say to those who minister in Jesus’ name. In this post, we will explore key biblical teachings on the minister’s identity, priorities, character, preaching, and more. Keep these truths close to your heart as you strive to serve the Lord with excellence.
- The minister’s identity is found in belonging to Christ as a servant called by God.
- Faithfulness to preach the word must be the minister’s top priority.
- Godly character and integrity are vital for effective ministry.
- Preaching should exalt Christ and His word, not the preacher.
- Pastors are to care for and protect the flock God has entrusted to them.
- Ministers must rely on God’s strength and wisdom, not their own.
The Minister’s Identity – A Servant Called by God
As a minister, your fundamental identity is not one of power or prestige, but of service. Jesus said, “Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 20:26). You have been called to follow the Master who “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). Therefore, “make yourself a servant of all” (1 Corinthians 9:19). Remember, “he who is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).
This servant identity comes from your relationship with Christ. As Paul said, “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle” (Romans 1:1). You belong to the Lord as His servant. Elsewhere Paul refers to himself as a “servant of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:1) and a “bondservant of God” (Titus 1:1). Like Paul, you have been purchased by Christ’s blood (1 Corinthians 6:20). Your life is not your own; you now live to please the Lord who called you into His service.
Therefore, think of yourself as a steward entrusted with the mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 4:1). But “what do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7). Every skill and resource you possess is a gift of grace meant for ministry. Use it well as a “good steward of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). And when you succeed in ministry, boast only in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:31).
Faithful Preaching – The Minister’s Top Priority
Of all your duties as a minister, nothing surpasses the importance of preaching the word. Paul charged Timothy: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). This was Paul’s own example: “We preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23). He said, “It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). Therefore, faithfully proclaiming the gospel of Christ must be your top priority.
Do not compromise the message to please your hearers. “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:3). Be willing to reprove and rebuke sin. “Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). Preach the whole counsel of God, not just your favorite topics (Acts 20:27). And do not rely on cleverness or eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power (1 Corinthians 1:17).
Above all, make Christ the focus of your preaching. Paul said, “We do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord” (2 Corinthians 4:5). Do not put your academic credentials or achievements on display. For “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise” (1 Cor. 1:27). Let your sermons exalt the living Word, not the preacher.
Godly Character – Vital for Effective Ministry
While skilled preaching is essential, your character and integrity are even more important. Paul told Timothy, “Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). Your deeds must match your doctrines. As Jesus said, “Whoever does and teaches [the commandments] shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19).
Therefore, “take heed to yourself” (1 Timothy 4:16) and “exercise yourself toward godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7). Seek the fruit of the Spirit – “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Flee from sexual immorality and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace (2 Timothy 2:22). Be above reproach – sober, temperate, respectable (1 Timothy 3:2). Let your purity of life commend the gospel you proclaim.
Do not serve for shameful gain or become ensnared by the love of money (1 Timothy 3:3; 6:10). Watch your life closely – “yourself and your teaching. Persevere in these things” (1 Timothy 4:16). Then you will be an instrument God can use greatly. As Paul told Timothy, “Be diligent…that the progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:15-16).
Feed and Protect Christ’s Flock
As an under-shepherd appointed by the Chief Shepherd, you are called to feed and protect His precious flock. Jesus charged Peter, “Feed My lambs…Tend My sheep…Feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17). So nourish God’s people with His word and guide them to green pastures of truth. “Feed the flock of God which is among you” (1 Peter 5:2). Strengthen the sickly, heal the hurting, bind up the brokenhearted. Be gentle – do not dominate them but be examples they can follow (1 Peter 5:3).
Guard the flock from wolves who seek to devour them. False teachers will arise, speaking perverse things to draw disciples away (Acts 20:29-30). Like Paul, do not hesitate to “warn night and day” against such deceivers (Acts 20:31). Rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine and exhort believers to maturity (Titus 1:9-11). The sheep are vulnerable – protect them from poisonous lies.
Sometimes wayward sheep will wander from the fold. Gently restore them in the spirit of Christ (Galatians 6:1). Bear their burdens and seek the lost (Galatians 6:2; Luke 15:4). Forgive offenders, reiterating your love for them (2 Corinthians 2:5-8). With compassion make every effort to present them blameless before God (Jude 1:22-23). For they too belong to the Good Shepherd who loves and laid down His life for the sheep.
Rely on God’s Strength, Not Your Own
The challenges of ministry are great, but God’s grace is greater. You will face trials that threaten to overwhelm you, but “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able” (1 Corinthians 10:13). The Lord told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). So boast in your weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon you. Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Therefore, fix your eyes on Him, not yourself. Rely on His strength, not your own.
Ministry is demanding work, so guard yourself from fatigue (Mark 6:31). But do not become lazy or entangled in other pursuits (2 Timothy 2:3-4). Be diligent and work heartily as serving the Lord, not merely men (Colossians 3:23). Yet balance diligence with rest in God’s care and sufficiency. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). Be anxious for nothing but in everything, with prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Then His peace will guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:6-7).
Fulfill your ministry by God’s power and for His glory alone. “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). Look to the interests of others, not your own (Philippians 2:4). Shepherd the flock willingly and eagerly, not under compulsion or for dishonest gain (1 Peter 5:2). “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (John 12:26). Take heart – eternal rewards await faithful ministers who finish their race well.
Ministry is an immense calling and responsibility. But God who calls you is faithful, and He will equip you for every good work. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the perfect minister who came to serve and lay down His life for the world. Rely on His strength, not your own. Nourish yourself in His Word. Lead others to the living water that alone can satisfy. Guide the flock to lush pastures of truth with compassion, integrity, and wisdom. Protect them from ravenous wolves, gently restoring the wandering. Above all, proclaim the glorious gospel of Christ with boldness, clarity, and power. Let everything you do in ministry point people to the life-giving hope found only in the Lord you serve. For one day the Chief Shepherd will appear and bestow on His faithful shepherds an unfading crown of glory.