Foundational Factors for Ministers

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

1 Tim. 4:14, Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecies spoken to you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16Keep a close watch on yourself and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right, and God will save you and those who hear you.

One of the blessings of pre-arranged daily bible readings is that you must read and consider whatever scriptures that are presented. In this portion of text, Paul reminded Timothy about foundational matters regarding ministry. We all benefit from relationships where a Paul can help develop a Timothy. The old saying is true: "You do not know what you do not know." Many important lessons in life are not learned in isolation. The most challenging trades and professions, including ministry, cannot be learned without the instruction of more experienced practitioners.
When I was a young independent minister, I didn't embrace that principle. As a consequence, I didn't know what I didn't know until frustrations and failures made me consider that there may be a greater knowledge beyond my limited view. In 1983, God brought me into the company of men who introduced me to many foundational factors I didn't know. From that position, I knew what to learn and practice.
Paul reminded Timothy of four foundational factors in his life and ministry that may be instructive for us:
  1. In addition to spiritual gifts given by God, there are other gifts imparted by church elders (recognized "Ephesian 4" leaders and ministers) by laying on of hands. For ministers, this impartation often occurs during ordination. These gifts should be identified and cultivated.
  2. Pay attention to details and "lesser things" that become indicators of grace, and qualifiers for ecclesiastical authority. What we do in secret creates more progress than what we do publicly. Anyone can manufacture a persona, but character and expertise cannot be feigned.
  3. Be gentle with others and ruthless with yourself. Value accuracy in teaching the Word. Be open to adjustment and correction. Always be teachable and ready to be directed or re-directed by God and spiritual overseers.
  4. When God is at work in us, the Spirit of Christ saves everyone connected with the anointed proclamation of the Word of God. Both the preacher and the hearers are being saved in many ways. We preachers don't do the saving, even when powerful meetings leave us with that impression. Jesus is simultaneously saving the people and saving us from ourselves.