One of the most fulfilling endeavors of my life is helping and encouraging young men and ladies who are just starting in the ministry. The energy and zeal young folks have at that point is just infectious. They are, as the old saying goes, ready to charge hell with a squirt gun! There is an endless list of lessons and truths that they must absorb and implemented as they surge forward in the ministry to sustain a lifetime of service. Here are what I consider to be a short list of the pillars of personal ethos that are crucial for the service of God :
Spiritual & Biblical
There is no substitute or any more important matter than your personal walk with God. Every spiritual servant of God must regularly and meaningfully spend time communing with God in Bible reading and prayer. The most important trait of every Christian, and especially a servant or leader in the work of God is real spirituality.
It is vital that you take responsibility for yourself and for your ministry. There is no place in God’s work for laziness or duty-dodgers. You need to own your ministry and your responsibilities. Take responsibility for your mistakes, learn from them and move forward with a humble spirit that is dependent on the Lord. You should step forward and admit your mistakes when things go wrong and not wait for time to be found out by others; own your failures as much as your successes!
A teachable spirit is vital for success in any field, but especially the ministry. You must be humble enough to be taught WHAT you need to do, and HOW you need to do it, and sometimes even WHERE, WHEN, and WHY you need to do things. A non-teachable spirit is really pride and arrogance.
Passion drives the work of God forward. Zeal for the work of God and the things of God must be the hallmark of every servant of the Lord. The size and notoriety of the task are irrelevant to the servant of God who has a passion to do everything for the Lord. When you take every opportunity, accept every invitation, step up for every need then you demonstrate passion for the work of God.
It is worse to do a job half-way than not at all. Sloppy work causes others to do more work to clean up your mess. You must pay attention to detail, ask questions, seek feedback, think about the task at hand and how it can be done better, more efficient, and more to the glory of God. Always seek to improve in every area. Feedback is a gift, be humble enough to admit that you need the input and correction of others to produce the best work possible.
Being on time is both a sign of self-discipline and of respect for those you are meeting. Conversely, being habitually late conveys that you are un-disciplined in your personal life and therefore you cannot be trusted to handle real responsibility. It also shows disrespect as you are conveying that your personal schedule is more important than the people you are meeting.
There is no shortage of horrific examples of what can go wrong in the ministry when we disregard moral boundaries and ethical standards. I was taught many years ago that every preacher needs to beware of the three “G’s” – Girls, Gold and Glory. We must hold ourselves to the highest levels of propriety and ethics in every area of our personal and professional life. You can never let your guard down because there is a real devil out there that would like nothing better than to make you this month’s example of how quickly and spectacularly a life can be ruined by the smallest indiscretion of sin.
Initiative & Vision
Spiritual leaders go beyond doing just what they are tasked with. A wheelbarrow is a great work device, but it will only go as far as it is pushed and no further. The words “It’s not my job” should never be uttered by a servant of the Lord. Look for what needs to be done and do it regardless of being asked or recognized for doing it. Have a vision to see what currently is not and work hard to bring that vision to reality. Think about every way to improve and grow the ministry God has given to you.
Mercy & Compassion
There is no place in the work of God for mean-spirited Christian leaders. The servant of God who will continue long in the work of God without getting jaded or disillusioned will be the one with a heart of compassion towards the lost and a heart of mercy towards other Christians.
Associate | Youth Pastor of Open Door Baptist Church of Lima, Ohio