1 Timothy 4:6-16 should be required reading for every believer serious about growing in the ministry God has called them to. The reason I think this, is because the text outlines so many practical and core fundamentals to ministry effectiveness.
I want to outline 4 core fundamentals that when clarified and focused upon will help sharpen the point of your ministry. Every ministry has a point. Another way of saying it is, God has called you to ministry for a purpose. There is a BIG IDEA behind the what of your ministry. Paul exhorts us in verse 16, “Keep a close watch on yourself…”
Theology – Paul said in verse 6, “…being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.” Theology is God-Talk. The way we think and talk about God becomes the doctrine that shapes our philosophy and practice of ministry. A.W.Tozer once said, “The essence of idolatry is entertainment of thoughts about God that are wrong.” I’m embarrassed by the little emphasis put on doctrine in the training of leaders. Our emphasis has become practical leadership techniques and it is insufficient. Grow in your theology because your ministry will rise and fall on it. Read books voraciously, ask questions, listen intently and take notes. Wrestle with the hard texts of Scripture and let the conviction of the Spirit linger deep in your heart rather than moving on to something more palatable to your taste. Your words and practice’s will betray your doctrine.
Calling – The BIG Idea of the Church is the Great Commission and God’s glory and each ministry in some way is tied to this mission. What specifically has God called you to do? Clarifying this will be the intersection of what God has revealed to you through His Word, your past experiences, your strengths and weaknesses, what you are passionate about and your values. Calling is a journey but an important process in sharpening your ministry point.
Skill-Set – Paul said, “Do not neglect the gift you have…” What is the unique skill set that God has given to you? 1 Corinthians 12 provides a systematic list of spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit distributes freely. Your gifts, talents and skills will be the medium through which your ministry will be outworked. Discover, develop and deploy your skills.
Personality – Paul said, “Let no one despise you for your youth… Keep a close watch on yourself…” Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Your answer to that question has more to do with what deplete’s and replenishe’s your energy than any specific personality type or activity. Stats tells us that Introverts make up 25% of the population and Extroverts make up 75% of the population. Introverts engage more so in their internal world, have deep conversations with people and replenish with silence and solitude. Extroverts love to engage with the external world, they like having chit-chat conversations with people, they generally like more chaos and they get recharged by time with people. Leading in a way that doesn’t reflect who you are is going to be detrimental to your ministry. The issue isn’t about either personality being good or bad but simply, who you are, particularly, in light of your circumstances.
Focus on these 4 core fundamentals and you will sharpen the point of your ministry.