How to Minister to Others #2:
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10).
As Christians, we are called to minister to others. But—how do we do that? Yesterday, we talked about an important foundation we must have before we can begin to reach out to and bless other people. We talked about the in-me-first principle, how our lives must be an example for others to follow, and the importance of spending time with Jesus first. Today, I want to give you 10 practical keys that I’ve learned over the years that have helped me to be more effective as I minister to others, and I hope that you will find them helpful also.
HOW TO MINISTER:
- Spend lots of time with Jesus in prayer and worship—without Jesus, we can do nothing. Although we mentioned in our last devotional, it bears repeating. Our effectiveness in ministry can only flow out of a close and intimate personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. Although it is true that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, it is also true that without Him, we can do nothing of eternal or lasting value.
- Spend lots of time reading the Bible—if our hearts and minds aren’t full of His Word, we won’t have anything to give to others. Not only does God’s Word strengthen our personal faith, but it’s only the Word of God that will set people free, not our ideas or plans. When we share the truth of God’s Word with people, that truth is what will bring them freedom.
- Pray for the people you’re going to minister to before you go to minister to them—this is humbling ourselves and relying on the Lord to do the work through us. Pray for God to give you the wisdom to know how to minister to the people you’re going to minister to.
- Focus on Jesus—He’s the answer to their problems, not you. Tell people the Good News about God’s love for them, and point them to Him. We may not have all the answers, but we don’t need to. All we need to do is tell them to come to Jesus, and He will be their Saviour!
- If you’re going to preach or exercise the gifts of the Spirit—ask God for wisdom, that He’ll show you what He wants to say. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to spend lots of time in prayer and feeding on God’s Word. The more you know the Bible, the more confidence you will have that the Holy Spirit is speaking through you when you operate the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Wait on the Lord, hear His voice, and say what He says.
- If you’re going to pray for someone—lay your hands on them (this is the Biblical pattern—a point of contact for their faith). And pray the answer, not the problem, in faith, in Jesus’ name. It’s not good enough to just pray, “Oh Lord Jesus, look at Aunt Gertrude, she’s so sick.” For one thing, the Lord knows that already. Instead of praying the problem, pray the answer. Tell the Lord what you need. Say, “Heavenly Father, please heal Aunt Gertrude, in Jesus’ name!” Ask and you shall receive. Persevere in prayer—never give up.
- Get outta the boat—the first few times you begin to minister to someone, you’re going to be nervous, you’re going to make mistakes. But remember this: “A mistake proves someone stopped talking long enough to do something!” The more you pray for people, or tell them the Good News about Jesus, the more comfortable and confident you will become doing it.
- Be led by the Holy Spirit—often times throughout the course of the day, the Holy Spirit will speak to you and say, “I want you to go and talk to that person, or pray for them, or tell them about Jesus.” When you are led by the Spirit, you can be confident that He will give you the grace you need to minister to people.
- Our motivation for ministering to others must be LOVE. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, it says that no matter what gift of the Spirit you operate in, if your motivation isn’t love, it’s not going to profit anything. Make sure before you go and pray for someone or minister to them that your motivation is love. And if the love isn’t there, then spend more time in God’s presence, and cultivate that fruit of the Spirit in your life. Then go and minister.
- Our motivation for ministering to others must also be the GLORY OF GOD. This is the last and most important key. In praying for people or minister to others, our greatest goal must not be just to help them, but ultimately, that the Lord would be glorified. When this is our end that we are seeking, that God would receive the honour and glory, He is pleased with that, and His grace and power will be there to help you to minister.
I hope these have been helpful. Obviously I haven’t covered everything you need to know to be able to minister to other people, but probably the most important point I made above is simply this—get outta the boat! Start praying for people, tell people the good news about Jesus, and allow the Lord to use you to bless and encourage others.
Pastor Chris Jordan