Three Marks of Effective Ministry
by Joseph Franks
In Paul’s letter to his Thessalonian disciples, he gave thanks and briefly commented on his effective ministry in their midst:
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
First, Paul acknowledged the sovereign work of God in the regeneration and justification of his friends. These men and women were Christian disciples, and this was a direct result of God’s loving and choosing them. Paul understood that “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who seek to build it.”
Paul then transitioned to the work of man in the spiritual transformation of these converts. The Sovereign God used the the minister and the means of grace, and these friends became Christians because Paul:
- Preached the Holy Word
- Preached with Holy Spirit Power and Conviction
- Preached with Holy Living
Therefore, from this text, we find a guide to assist us in praying for our ministers. Let us pray that they might stand behind their pulpits and give us a full and meaty dose of God’s Holy Word. Let us pray that they might faithfully expound that which is already inspired and always infallible, instead of majoring on man’s own fickle and fallible philosophies of life.
And let us pray that our ministers might communicate with a fresh and full filling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit can internally aid and impact the preacher so he communicates as a dying minister to perishing men. The presence of the Holy Spirit can assist their fallible tongues and our own hardened hearts. The Holy Spirit is he who has the ability to make the preaching of the Gospel powerful and effective. Let us understand that “all is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down.”
Next, let us pray that our ministers might be consistent in word and deed. May they talk the talk as they walk the walk. Few things are more harmful to a congregation and the watching world than witnessing an immature and duplicitous minister. Let us beg God that he might keep our clergy on the straight and narrow. It is vital that the sermon coming forth from their lives will match that proceeding forth from their lips.
Then, after praying for your minister, pray for the parents who surround you. It seems legitimate to assume that transformed children will most likely proceed from:
- Parents Using the Holy Word
- Parents Filled with Holy Spirit Power and Conviction
- Parents Living a Holy Life
And finally, may these characteristics be true of us as Christian evangelists. As we seek to be Light-Shiners and Good Samaritans in our world, may our neighbors, co-workers, business associates, and friends receive the Gospel in verbal form. Then may our oral proclamation be augmented by our preaching without words. Then perhaps, the Holy Spirit will chose to make our evangelism power and effective. While God is sovereign, he uses means, and the means he normally uses are:
- People who Express the Holy Word
- People Filled with Holy Spirit Power and Conviction
- People Living a Holy Life