As pastors, teachers, leaders, people helpers, evangelists, prayer warriors or any other kind of servant of God, we all know that we can glorify God through effective ministry. What we may find harder to grasp is how to define effective ministry.
Do we quantify ministry by looking at the number of converts, the attendance records, or the proliferation of programs we offer?
If so, does that mean churches and ministries with greater quantifiable results are more effective?
Do we measure by the quality of our programs and ministry efforts?
If so, does that mean churches and ministries with more qualified staff, professional musicians, high technology, standards of excellence, or bigger and better facilities are more effective?
Let me suggest that while the quantitative and qualitative dimensions can be indicators, effective ministry goes beyond both aspects.
What brings the most glory to God is when we do ministry based on His heart, His ways, His means, and His design.
His Heart: First, God is more concerned about people and their love relationship with Him than He is about programs. The greatest commandments, according to Jesus, are to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbor.
Ministry Objective for Us: Focus on Personhood
Second, God is more concerned about who we are than what we do. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).
Ministry Objective for Us: Focus on Internal Change, not simple external conformity.
His Ways: God’s ways and our ways so often differ. What we consider wisdom, He views as foolishness. Because He knows all and sees all, God looks at the big picture, not simply what is happening in the moment. (Prov. 14:12; Isa. 55:8-9; Rom. 11:33-34; 1 Cor. 1:20-29) Our philosophy of ministry governs how and why we do what we do. Philosophy is often at the core of many church and ministry conflicts. If we could all somehow get on page with God, why and how He operates, perhaps we could learn to “be of same mind with one another” (Rom. 15:5).
Ministry Objective for Us: Build your Philosophy on the Word of God
His means: When God was about to accomplish a work among people, He often took time to prepare people for what was ahead. In an effort to get on with things, we can sometimes skimp on this process. Then we wonder why we have run into so many problems. This is especially important when we are trying to initiate or revitalize a ministry.
Ministry Objective for Us: Prioritize Preparation
His Design: According to God, the church “grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work” (Eph. 4:16). The church is a living organism, a priesthood of believers. God designed the church to function as a body, a team. Interdependence is God’s plan for effective ministry.
Ministry Objective for Us: Encourage Participation
May we truly learn to do ALL we do for the glory of God by focusing our ministry on what matters to the heart of God. And, may we to it in accordance with His ways, means, and design.