Six Foundations of Godly Ministry
A. Godly character is the foundation of true ministry.Character (or lack of it) qualifies us from being able to minister and determines at what level we minister (Psalm 11:3). The biblical criteria for elders and deacons are mostly character issues. What can be built up by powerful charisma can be destroyed by lack of character.
B. Ministry is the outflow of your life.Ministry begins not in what you say or do, but what you are.God is more intent on making you the message than giving you a message to speak.Your “life’s message” comes as a sum total of your life’s experiences, failures and successes and responses to them.Ministry is truth through personality. A minister is not un-associated from his/her message.You impart what you are, not what you say.
C. Character is something that is formed in us (it is not a gift or inherited) It is formed by: Godly upbringing (2 Tim 1:3-5)Discipline and correction (Heb 12:5-11), Fiery trials, stresses (1 Peter 4:12; Rom 5:3-4), Sensitivity and obedience to God & His word, Discipleship and being mentored
D. The proof of Godly character is seen not only in ministry life, but in our daily lives. Jesus looked for faithfulness in three areas:
- In little things before great things.
- In natural things before spiritual things.
- To serve and submit to another man’s vision before being given your own – Teachability.
A. By “content” we mean the wisdom, knowledge and insight that is gained through experience, study and training. A person may have a Godly character but, other than a good example, have little more to impart or say that could be termed ministry. Some people pursue the ministry out of sheer zeal; still others are oriented to the prestige and power of the position, while lacking anything of value to impart. Like Ahimaaz they run with a lot of enthusiasm but do not have a clear message, because it is not yet their time or place to minister 2 Sam 18:19ff
B. There is no instant gift of maturity and no substitute for wisdom that comes from years of experience. There is no such thing in the Bible as the gift of “knowledge” or gift of “wisdom”, these things grow through learning and experience. Not to be confused with the “word of knowledge” and the “word of wisdom” which are divinely inspired utterances un-associated with a persons own wisdom or knowledge.
C. Most of the great Bible characters spent years of preparation to get “content” into their “ministry” life Joseph’s prime ministership was developed in 14 years of hard circumstances. Moses was 40 years in the desert being prepared to lead Israel on their 40 years in the wilderness. Paul spent 14 years in obscurity before God released him into his apostleship.
D. “Content” is developed through the many different processes in a person’s life. Study – Personal and formal. “On the job” training, experience, mentoring and discipleship. Failures and mistakes – learning what to do as well as what not to do. Finding answers to life’s problems through facing life’s problems for one’s self.
E. Whereas character qualifies a good minister, content adds wisdom to his/her charisma for the wise use and exercise of ministry gifts.
A. “Charisma” is our anointing, our spiritual “ministry giftedness” (beyond the gifts of the Holy Spirit in a meeting). The Greek word “charisma” literally means “a gift of grace”. The Greek word for “grace” from which it is derived is “charis”.
B. Charisma is not temperament but a God given ability to influence others.Charisma attracts influences and persuades. The Greek word for “anointing is “charisma” from the word “chiro” meaning to rub. Charismatis the “rub off” of God on human flesh. The Old Testament anointing oil was attractive aromatic oil that became symbolic of the power of the Holy Spirit’s anointing to attract and influence.
C. Charisma is not based upon character or our performance, but based upon God’s unmerited favor and His own will to grace us with it. It is due to the fact that charisma is not based upon our performance, or meriting it, that some who have been so anointed have been able to continue functioning in their ministry whilst having ungodly character realms and fleshly excesses.
D. What charisma and content can build, lack of character can destroy. King Saul was head and shoulders above all his peers, attractive and winsome, but his lack of character corrupted his kingly anointing. Samson was mightily gifted with charisma, but sorely lacking in wisdom and character so that he sported and played with his gift, bringing about his own downfall. Some think that while their gift “works” that God excuses their lack of godly character. Recent history shows us that eventually a person’s excesses bring them down personally and bring disrepute to the body of Christ in general.
A. Throughout the apostles writings the Greek noun “klesis” meaning “a vocation” is used of that specific “calling’ that has its origin and nature in God. (Eph 1:18, Phil 3:14, 2 Tim 1:9, 2 Peter 1:10). It is used in the general sense of our call to redemption, but is also applied in a specific sense in verb form (kletos) to a person’s calling to a specific ministry e.g. Romans 1:1
B. Like the example of Paul & Barnabas in Acts 13:2 we are to know that we are called of God and what we are called to do. Authority from knowing Who has called you, and what you have been called to do.Trouble comes out of presuming to be something you are not and not carrying God’s authority to do it. The seven sons of Sceva ministered out of a not so “bright idea” Acts 19:13-16
C. We need to know we are both anointed and “appointed” for our ministry. In 2 Tim 1:11 Paul said “I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, a teacher”. We are not to be “self appointed” prophets or apostles or self advance any other ministry gift of our own promotion. Jeremiah 14:13-16. Being called and appointed is a matter of revelation and endorsement of the Church body, not solely aspiration Jeremiah 1:4-10.
D. The scriptural advice concerning our calling involves. Identifying your calling is not based upon human wisdom, intelligence, natural talents or strengths 1 Cor 1:26-29. We must walk (live) in a manner that is “worthy of our vocation” in all “lowliness and gentleness with long suffering” Eph 4:1-2. It is incumbent upon us to pursue and “press towards” that “high calling” with passion and zeal. Phil 3:14.Be a good steward of that call “diligently” working to strengthen it, develop it, and maintain it for God’s glory. 2 Peter 1:10.
A. Capacity involves knowing what you are gifted to do, to what degree you are gifted and in what manner you are to function in that gift. It also involves knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are in that realm of ministry God has called you to do.
B. Capacity has to do with the great variety in the way God has graced each of us to function at different levels and degrees in our anointing and gifts. In 1 Cor 12:4_6 the Apostle Paul spoke of “diversities” and “differences” and “gifts” (plural), “ministries” and “activities” (NKJV) in the realm of the Holy Spirit. Similar spiritual ministry gifts may be expressed quite differently in different people. For instance, there is a difference in being able to prophesy and in being a prophet and then among prophets, and expressions of the gift of prophecy there are different degrees of authority and anointing and function.
C. In Romans 12:3-8, the Apostle Paul indicated that spiritual gifts are given in varying “measures” and “proportions” to different individuals. The Greek for “measure” is “metron”, meaning a “measuring cup” or a “determined extent, proportionally measured off”. That “measure” is determined by God.
D. We are challenged to function to our full measure and potential in God, whatever the gift or ministry. On the one hand we are warned not to exaggerate our capacity and to “soberly” estimate the measure of our gift, not thinking “more highly of ourselves as we should”. On the other hand, we must also be “of sound mind” in regards to estimating our function, 2 Tim 1:6-7. This is an exhortation to capacity and not be fearful or timid in the exercise of the full extent of our gift.
E. Paul counsels us to minister “according to…grace…in proportion to our faith” We are to function according to the grace and faith we have, not according to someone else’s expectations.
A. A person has a certain sphere in which to operate in their gift and anointing. 2 Cor 10:12-13. Boundaries are increasingly defined in the outworking of a person’s call to define the “context” of their function. For some it is outside the church, for others it is in the church, for some it is “trans local”, for most it is within the local church, involved in a particular aspect of the local church ministry. It is God who appoints “spheres” and gives specific anointing for functioning authoritatively within certain defined boundaries – The Holy Spirit gives gifts as He determines.
B. Paul’s ministry and apostleship exemplifies the principle of the need to know and be persuaded of the context of your ministry in order to have maximum effectiveness: For Paul those boundaries were: “People group” boundaries. After assessing that he was offending the Jews, yet succeeding in persuading the Gentiles to believe, Paul concluded that there were ethnic boundaries to his particular ministry, openly declaring himself “The Apostle of the Gentiles”. Acts 13:45-47, Rom 11:13, Gal 1:15-16, 2:7-8
In Titus 1:1 Paul said he was an apostle, “according to the faith of God’s elect” (compare with 1 Cor 9:2). In other words his apostleship was effective only to those who received him in the name of his gift and function (Matt 10:41)
When writing to the Gentile church at Corinth, Paul recognized his ministry had geographical boundaries to it. (2 Cor 10:13-14). There were even occasions when the Holy Spirit did not permit him to stretch the boundaries of his sphere in certain directions, while opening opportunities in other directions. Acts 16:6-7
A leader needs to know the limitation of his or her rights to function authoritatively. Paul did not want to function in his apostolic authority within another man’s sphere. However, he had no hesitation to function authoritatively within his own sphere when he had to, even to counter another great apostle. Gal 2:11 (cp verses 1-9).