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TWELVE ESSENTIALS FOR GRACE-BASED MINISTRY
July 19, 2015
A lot of people see ministry as a burden they carry for the Lord. The weight of the burden overwhelms them and they always function from a place of depression. Even Jesus knew how to rest when life’s demands was pressing Him. Habakkuk wrote of how believers should, “rest in the day of trouble” (3:16). In the world we find rest when the waters are calm. In Christ, you rest and that calms the waters. The author of Hebrews encouraged the church to “labor therefore to enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:11).When you arrive at this place, you can rejoice in God’s goodness manifest in testimonies.
There are two basic ways for believers to do ministry: by grace and favor or by works and effort. When your blessings come from nothing that you do then you are living in the abundant favor of God. When you play a part in what you get, whether it is due to your consecration, your prayer life, or your devotion, then you are a recipient of what you deserve, with no regard to favor. Rating your ministry based on your efforts is the sure key to frustration.
#3. Doesn’t seek for men’s approval
Paul said in 1 Thess 2:4 “On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” To please men would be to preach a message that will seek for recognition and the need to validate your ministry.
Grace has freed us from that bondage. It is a subtle prison that controls your life and drains life out of you. Paul also said in Galatians 1:9,10 “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
Paul had a revelation of the New Covenant and concluded, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). The preaching of grace is the revelation of Jesus and not the wisdom of men, philosophies and methods. As we present a crucified Jesus; broken for the sins and sicknesses of man, we provide people with the opportunity for powerful revelations of Jesus Christ. When they feast on this type of bread (revelation) they will partake of what the 2 the disciples on the road to Emmaus experienced when they said, “Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32)
When people eat of His grace and glory, their heart burns with the warmth of His love for them. As they feast on the crucified Lamb, their spirit man will long for more and more of His saving knowledge. This is what a successful ministry does.
#5. Don’t depend on methods for results
It is common for ministers to seek continually for methods and schemes to grow a church. Church growth is a great thing. It can be a burden when we begin to look unto people and not Jesus for how to. Jesus told Peter that He will build his church. Paul also said in 1 Corinthians 3:7 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”
Church growth does not rest in the methods adopted but with God creating the opportunities for increase in impact and outreach.
There are loads of ministries engaged in series of church events to keep people busy for God but in reality they have succeeded to deprive them of living a balanced life. Many marriages and homes have endured this misplacement of priorities. Jesus said that he came that we have life more abundantly. You shouldn’t be busy working for the Lord that you don’t have the time to live the life he died to give you. Grace based leadership understands that is not programs that keep committed to God but the revelation of Jesus in their hearts.
Many ministers have longed used people to build their empire and a name for themselves. Sometimes they even place a curse on them for leaving their ministry. Ministry is about people and ministry must a heart for them. It is the place they hold in their hearts that causes them to serve them freedom and rest in Jesus without any form of insecurity. Every minister is call into the ministry of reconciliation. Your desire to serve people umerited favour strengthens the relationships we share.
#8. Operate where the doors are open
Grace based leadership do not force doors to open to advance the cause of ministry. It Is good to share the good news but better to share it when there are opportunities created by the Holy Spirit. We see in Acts 16:6 concerning one of Paul’s missionary journeys
“They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; 7and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them”.
There are various platforms for us to share the good news which may include social media or regular events that we can harness but the best platform is the open window created by the Spirit.
#9. Do not sweat out results
Your ministry doesn’t have function based on your “sweat”. Do you know that if you have to “sweat” to get God’s blessings on your ministry, you will only end up angry, troubled and disappointed? Our ministries have to be like the garden of Eden and our job is to tend to the garden and not toil like Adam, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread…” (Genesis 3:19)
In the Old Testament, God required His priests to be clothed in fine linen garments. They wore linen turbans and even had linen undergarments. The linen material made the priest cool and they did not sweat in their service. This is how He wants us to stay cool, be restful and enjoy His blessings in service.
#10. Revelation is progressive
We know as it is revealed in our hearts by the Spirit. Paul prayed for the church at Ephesus
15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
The Apostle Paul spoke of people in the church as being at different levels in their ability to consume spiritual food. He said that some were drinking “milk” when they ought to be eating “meat”. When we continually feast on the meat, we will comprehend Christ’s finished work and revel in the power of the resurrected life. The more His revelation of His grace is being revealed to us we will begin the plan of God unfold for our world and it will put ministry in proper perspective.
#11.The finished work of Jesus Christ is in focus
Jesus said in John 19:30 – “It is finished”. What is finished? The works of the Father that Jesus came to do were finished at Calvary after Jesus had suffered for all of our sins (John 4:34). This is the good news we have to share, this is message of reconciliation. Anything else is not gospel. As we focus on what He has done for us, it gives Him honor and glory for His miracle working power. The more ministries project His finished work, the more they bring Him back into focus, the more transformation we will see occur around us.
#12. Exercise Faith that Jesus Christ is at work inside their membership
In a grace-based ministries, pastors don’t try to micromanage people’s lives or police them, but trust that God’s grace is at work in each one. When we let Jesus live big in us, true holiness will result and the manifestation of Jesus will be an everyday reality.