The Best Way to Be Successful in Ministry

What's the best way to be successful in ministry?  I believe it's actually pretty simple.  But by simple, I don't mean easy. 

It takes a lot to do what we're going to talk about today.

This thought crossed my mind many years ago when I was first starting out in ministry.  And it's this...

The best way to be successful in ministry is to stay in ministry.

It takes great determination and intentionality to accomplish what we're talking about today. 

I have been amazed by the number of high profile Christian leaders who have bombed out this year.  Leaders with incredible speaking ability.  Leaders who have built great ministries and have impacted countless number of lives.  

But they didn't finish strong and their legacy is now tarnished with sins like adultery, embezzlement, sexual harassment, drunkenness and abuse of others.  In-spite of all the good they did, this is what they will be remembered for.  In just a moment you can destroy what it took you years to build.

Let's talk briefly about some steps you can take to ensure you stay in ministry for the long haul.

1. Have a growing relationship with Jesus.  Spend time each day with Jesus.  Ask for His wisdom and for His guidance.  Ask Him to protect you from temptation and pitfalls.  The closer you are to Jesus, the more guidance and protection you will able to draw from. 

2. Put rules around you that will protect you from immorality.   Don't ride in a car alone with someone of the opposite sex.  Don't eat lunch alone with another person of the opposite sex.  Don't counsel someone of the opposite sex alone in your office.  Have a window in your office so people can see what you are doing.  Have someone who holds you accountable for your use of technology and regularly checks on the websites you've been on.

Some of these may seem extreme to you.  But it takes extreme caution to finish the race God has placed before you. 

3. Stay away from the money.  Have guidelines in place that free you up from having to handle the church's finances.

4. Pace yourself.  You can't run in the red rpms for an extended period of time without damaging your engine.  Same goes for your ministry race.  You must pace yourself.  You must set yourself up to be able to go the distance.

I found out the hard way that if you don't pace yourself, you can burn out.  You can read my story of burn out at this link.  Remember, ministry is not a sprint.  It is a marathon.  Is your current pace sustainable?

You can burn out doing something you love.

5. Guard your heart.  The Bible tells us that our number one job is this. 

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."  Proverbs 4:23. 

Guard your heart against bitterness.

Guard your heart against envy. 

Guard your heart against anger. 

Guard your heart against lust. 

Guard your heart against jealously. 

Guard your heart against pride. 

My prayer for you is this - to be able to say what Paul said at the end of His ministry. 

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing."                               I Timothy 4:7-8

p.s. You can get tons of more practical advice and insight that will help you finish your course strong in my book "Lead Well in Children's Ministry."  You can get the book at this link

See you at the finish line.