When I say "Ministry is sloppy," I have a feeling most know what I mean: accusations, broken hearts, betrayal, tears, shock... In the short time I've been "in the ministry" I've seen how tough it can be. But really, that is life. That is people! (By the way, you kind of need people to minister to if you are a minister!)
People are hard to figure out! About the only thing we can know for sure about people is that we don't know any of them as well as we might think we do. The Bible tells us "all have sinned," "there are none righteous," and in general "the heart is deceitful in all things and desperately wicked," so why should we be surprised when others lie to us or let us down? Furthermore, we shouldn't set ourselves up to be anything more than fallen beings ourselves. If we are honest with ourselves, we know we are capable of committing all sorts of sins.
However; hurting, broken, messed up people need someone to trust. I know, I know, they need God and He is the only One they can fully trust...but there is a reason God uses tangible, human "messengers" to deliver His word and to conduct His business. People need that human element to which they can relate. Unfortunately, we are fallible just like the ones to whom we are ministering! So for that reason alone, we must purpose to be the best human element we can be for His work.
We need to be real, but we must train ourselves to be what the Bible tells us to be: alert, "sober-minded," equipped with knowledge and wisdom. We must fine tune our skills in the arts of communication and management. I'm not saying it is easy (In fact, I feel a little hypocritical just writing this article!), but it is what we are called to do. With that, let's look at some practical advice that will help us ministers not be so sloppy at the job we are called to do: (Lord knows I need to improve at each of these!)
1. Pray often! (We have His help or we fail. Simple as that.)
2. Set strict guidelines to help you avoid being lured into situations that could damage your testimony.
3. Memorize tons of Bible. (Word-for-word, including reference.)
4. Learn to read, write, and speak better. (This is pretty much the essential "trio" of communication.)
5. Always be well-groomed and appropriately dressed in public. (Physical appearance is very necessary for making the right impressions.)
6. Learn not to be content with incomplete or shoddy work. (Keep improving all the time.)
7. Learn to prioritize! (The non-essentials can wait while we get the most important things completed first.)
These sound so simplistic, but really, let's stop being sloppy!
God bless, and may your passion for ministry grow as you "addict yourself" to it (1 Corinthians 16:15).
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