Paul’s ministry in every city was validated partly by his sterling testimony and carefully nurtured relationships. Particularly in the city of Ephesus, when Paul gave his final goodbyes to the church leaders, he was able to part with a clear conscience and strong relationships (Acts 20:19–34).
Our ministry likewise is strengthened when we are:
1. Right with God
We must never think that we can put our walk with the Lord on “auto pilot.” No matter how long we have been saved or how mature of a Christian we are, there is always room to grow.
Too often Christian leaders become skilled in their ministry while neglecting their walk with the Lord. There is a difference between being professional and being spiritual. Never allow yourself to believe that service for Christ can replace a relationship with Christ.
2. Right with authority
You cannot be right with God and disobedient to your authorities. A man who knows how to serve under authority is qualified to be a leader (Luke 7:8–9). When I counsel young people in our church, I direct them to their parents when possible. As the president of West Coast Baptist College, I regularly point students to their home pastors and their parents. God’s authority structures are vital in our lives.
3. Right with the team
There ought to be in our hearts a Spirit-given love for one another on the team. Philippians 2:2 admonishes, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Does this verse describe your relationships with fellow Christians? Your church is a team, and team players find there is great joy in serving together.
We should all be diligent in our efforts to strengthen these vital relationships.