By Steven Ackley
Ministry is thrilling, fun, and rewarding at times. But the reality is that ministry can be taxing as well. Sometimes the grind is so heavy and grueling that we lose sight of what we hope to see happen. Sometimes the movement of growth is so slow that we’ll do anything now to see a glimmer of hope. But the measure of faithfulness isn’t the size of our ministry. It’s our faithfulness to the Lord and the ministry that He has called us to lead.
So, how do we avoid the danger of doing something today that will harm our ultimate aim in the long run of ministry? Here are a few ways to stay focused.
1. Keep your eyes on the goal.
The goal for all of us, no matter our calling to ministry or our vocation, is to remain faithful to Jesus. This is why the author of Hebrews reminds us to fix our eyes on Him. There will be plenty of opportunity in ministry to fix our eyes on something else, to focus on our numbers, to aim for an attendance spike, to do something flashy for the sake of flash, or to satisfy an immediate desire despite the long-term implications. But, in order to avoid a view of your ministry that is short-sighted, we must be committed to keeping our eyes on the goal.
2. Surround yourself with people who can keep you centered and focused.
We all need people who will serve as guardrails in our ministries. It may be another church staff member or a lay leader in your ministry. It may be an innocent third party who is detached from the current environment but from whom you can gain great wisdom. Who is less important than what they do. These people need to have a good grasp on where your ministry is headed and a deep heart for the Kingdom of God, the local church, and your long-term success in ministry. Listen to them and let them challenge you, and you’ll reap the reward of many counselors in your ministry.
3. Read your Bible.
Now, you may be asking, what does reading my Bible have to do with staying focused on the goal of ministry? Well, maybe in just hearing me say that, you’ve understood the answer. The Bible is packed full of men and women that God used to make waves for His Kingdom, despite many bumps along the way. It was a clear vision and commitment to the long-term growth and health of the church that pushed them through challenging times and even great persecution. The Bible also reminds us that God uses imperfect people to accomplish His purposes, which we all need a healthy view of along the way. Read your Bible often and let the Lord show you the importance of taking the long-view in ministry.
The journey of ministry is full of stories, mountaintops, and valleys, but the journey is not the end. Be faithful, and fight to recall that the journey, the experiences, the moments are only a means to a greater end.