Understand the Point of Ministry
We need to be clear about why we are doing what we are doing. At its essence, Christian life is about loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and loving others as ourselves. Therefore the goal of our ministry should be to call others to love God completely. To do this with any sense of authenticity, loving God with our absolute entirety needs to be our focus and goal. If we are given to loving God, we can be genuine in our call and ministry to others.
So we need to strive in ministry to be like Paul. He labored to betroth people to Jesus. His ministry propelled people into a deeper love of Jesus. In 1 Corinthians, Paul lamented that the people he had prepared for loving Christ were so quickly turning their affection and becoming dependant on other leaders. So as leaders, we need to realise that we are here to see people fall in love with Jesus. If people start to become our ministry groupies, if they start to idolize us or become dependant on us for spiritual guidance or support, then we risk taking the place of Jesus in their lives. Jesus is our everything. He is love untold, He is our joy and life. We are nothing apart from Him. So may it never be that we start to take His place in people’s lives. To protect against this, we need to continually push people back to Jesus. For the spiritually immature, a little more support is ok. Bottle feeding babies is fine, but people are not designed to stay spiritually babies for long. Our ministry should quickly grow spiritual babies into children and children into adults. And these adults should have one love in their spiritual life: Jesus.
Always Work from a Context of Reality
In this sense, we need to start with ourselves. There is no point in teaching theory without reality. So if we aren’t connected to Jesus in a real and living way, then we cannot really lead others into a deeper relationship with God. If we are called to lead, then we need to be living in reality, actively striving against religious pretence and false presentation of ourselves. We need to love God and be real about it.
Empower, Empower, Empower People.
A key aspect of a living relationship with Jesus is hearing His voice. If we are hearing His voice, we can easily be spiritually led by God. So, to start empowering others, we need to teach them how to hear God. We need to teach them how to love, how to enter His presence, how to encounter and commune with Him. Once they learn how to connect with Christ, then we need to keep encouraging people to gradually increase the time they spend in His presence, with the goal being that we would all learn to live continually in His presence, constantly communing with Christ in everything we do.
Ask More Questions Than Give Answers
To empower people, we need to teach them how to learn on their own. Our school and graduate institutions spoon-feed students and so people learn to simply ask questions and get answers. They don’t really expect to have to think for themselves, after all, why think when you can just ask?
So when people ask you a question, even if you know the answer, encourage people to seek out the answer for themselves. If they don’t know how to search out the word, then teach them (see this study for a short introduction to searching out the word). Initially people can be a little lazy when it comes to thinking, but this will fade as they find the thrill and life in searching out the word and discovering truth for themselves.
Go with the Seasons
Often if God establishes us in a particular ministry or group leadership position, the temptation can be to hold on to that position, or try to keep the group going forever. God works in seasons. People grow, life changes, the Spirit works then moves. So we need to keep in touch with the Spirit. Plant the seeds and move on. If we can keep in step with the Spirit, we will often find that the sweetest part of a season is the end. We know that we have completed the tasks given for the season, and we can enjoy the expectation of what God has for us next.