Success in ministry might be hard to define. However, observing three ideas from Mark 1 will give us practical steps to follow.
As Jesus began His ministry on earth, he followed three methods that I think are important for us to do too. Teaching, running preschools, leading Bible Studies, blogging, podcasting, or just sharing on social media are all ways we minister to others. Our ministries may look different. However, they each require three basic principles that Jesus knew and demonstrated in Mark 1.
Get Prepared for Success in Ministry
The first eight verses of this chapter are all about how John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus. Therefore, God thought it was important for preparations to be in place before arriving on the scene. In the same way, Jesus is at work in the world and is preparing things for us. He even works to prepare our hearts and minds for what is ahead. How are you preparing for the ministry God has called you to? I can look back over my life and see ways that God prepared me for the next assignment.
In the same way, we can see how God prepared biblical characters for specific roles. Joseph prepared through dreams, slavery, and responsibilities. Moses prepared as he grew up in Pharoah’s palace. David prepared to defeat Goliath as a shepherd boy fighting off lions and bears (1 Samuel 17:34-37). That victory helped prepare him to be king also.
In Mark 1:12-13, Jesus is led into the wilderness and tempted by Satan. A part of our preparation comes through testing too. Significantly, this testing takes place right after Jesus’ baptism. Likewise, when we take that first step and leap of faith into our calling and ministry, we will face testing and temptations. Knowing how to overcome temptations is important to having success in ministry. Read more about avoiding temptations here.
In the story of The Little Pot, the potter says, “Little Pot, I am preparing you to be a very special pot.” It is all a part of the potter’s plan to empty and fill the vessel. We must remember that God’s preparations exist in the good and bad events we face.
Get People that will follow you.
In the story of The Tea Pot, we meet a vessel who thinks of itself before others. It should go without saying that the purpose of ministry is to minister to others. However, we often equate success as a personal achievement and subconsciously forget it takes a village. Therefore, to be successful in ministry, you need the right people beside you. In a school, this will be teachers and parents. If you minister online, you will need to build an email list and gain a supportive following.
We see Jesus do this as the second idea in Mark 1:16-20. He calls His first disciples. Simon, Andrew, James, and John immediately say yes to Jesus and follow Him. There is something so captivating that they leave everything behind. Jesus’ invitation, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” was all they needed to hear. Likewise, we must give a gripping message relative to our audience. Once people have joined you, the real work begins.
Success in Ministry – Get Productive
Thirdly, Jesus got busy doing. After the disciples joined him, Jesus began teaching. Throughout the text, we read the word: immediately. Jesus did not hesitate. In addition, He was decisive and went to work right away. People were in awe of his authority. As he taught, he was interrupted by a man filled with an unclean spirit. Jesus cast out the spirit and continued. Likewise, we need to get to work immediately and not allow ourselves to be distracted.
Care for others
We also see that he cared for people as he taught. He healed Simon’s mother-in-law and many others who came to Simon’s home that evening. He did not see caring for people as an interruption. Therefore, make sure you care for others too.
Care for yourself
Jesus did not only care for others, however. He also made sure that he took time to recharge and pray. In verse 35, Jesus got up very early while it was still dark. He went off by himself so he could refocus and talk to His heavenly father. Then, once again, when the disciples found him and said “Everyone is looking for you”, he told them they were to go to other towns and preach. He explains that is the reason he came out. Jesus knew what He was supposed to do and stayed focused.
In the story of The Oil Lamp, a tiny vessel is asked to shine. Unfortunately, it is too shy and scared. The other vessels help it to understand that spending time with the potter will give it the courage it needs.
Success in Ministry is seen through fruitfulness
After following these three ideas, your ministry will be set up for success. I’ve found the best way to measure success is through bearing the fruit of the Spirit. I understand that financial gain is probably important to your ministry. However, I believe that God provides what we need and is more concerned with us each being vessels that He can live and work through. The fruit of the Spirit is the evidence (Galatians 5:22-23). Therefore, I want to continue to help you be the fruit-bearing vessel God wants you to be
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