As a called Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I know the importance of study. You cannot give what you do not have, lead where you have not been, nor teach what you do not know. We must understand our call and our role as set men and women of God. God uses me to teach other ministers about ministry. These are just a few of my notes:
- Ministry Defined: I like Warren W. Weirsbe’s definition of ministry. I pray this will be a blessing to you.
- Jesus, the Preacher’s Example: Jesus is our best example for life and preaching. Learn about the Preacher’s Ear, the Preacher’s Eye and the Preacher’s Tongue!
- The Word of God: Some quick notes about God’s Word.
- Preaching with Purpose: Some quick notes about Preaching with Purpose.
- Effective Preaching: 9 keys to Effective Preaching.
- Advice to Beginning Ministers: Simple advice to young preachers.
- Online Resources for Ministers: See these links and many others on the links page.
Ministry Defined: (return to top of page)
Warren W. Wiersbe defines ministry as when Divine resources, meet human needs, through loving channels — to the Glory of God. On every opportunity that you are afforded to minister the Word of God to the people of God — remember that you are simply the loving channel; nothing more, nothing less. It is God that does the work, through the agent of the Holy Spirit, and we are simply conduits through which He blesses His people. Prepare, Pray, and then allow the Holy Spirit through you to Preach! Let’s take a closer look at this definition:
Divine Resources: God is the source! He is the manufacturer and we are simply the distributors. As a distribution center, all you can give out is what you receive in. Once you are told that you will minister the Word of God, immediately take the time given and spend it in consecration and preparation with the Lord in prayer, meditation, and study so that He can feed you what it is that He wants you to feed the people. Remember that through it all — God is the Source! He is always at working and always speaking! He has a Word for His people and it is your responsibility to seek out that Word and allow God to preach it through you.
Human Needs: All around the world, people are standing in the need of love, healing, direction, deliverance, protection, guidance, and etc. They can receive all these things and more through the vehicle of the preached Word. Although the message is clearly about Jesus’ finished work on the cross, you need not confine your comments therein. Allow God to meet the needs of the people, through you, to His glory! Remember that you are not standing up for show, nor to bring any reputation to yourself. You are standing up to allow God to meet the needs of the people (individually) and the church (collectively).
Loving Channels: You are not to preach out of contempt, or ill intentions. Your motivating force as a preacher and as a Christian should always be the Love of God. We should come ready to Preach and exhort the people of God to keep their eyes on Jesus and their hearts fixed toward growth in Him. You are the conduit through which the blessing will come. If you are excited, they will be excited. If you are down, they will be down. Allow God’s love and joy to permeate through the preached Word!
To the Glory of God: Our mandate as a preacher and as a Christian is to glorify God. Our God is a jealous God. We should never get in the way of His glory. Glory is reserved for God and we should always point all glory towards Him. Pastor Daniel says, “He gets the glory, we get the benefits!” This is not your time to shine, but rather His. Allow God to get the glory out of everything He allows you to share.
So simply say what God gives you to say and then sit down and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work. If you are nervous — pray! If you are anxious — pray! If you overconfident — pray! Pray, prepare, and allow the Holy Spirit to Preach!
Jesus, The Preacher’s Ultimate Example: (return to top of page)
Foundation Scripture for the Lesson: (John 12:49-50 CEV) I don’t speak on my own. I say only what the Father who sent me has told me to say. I know that his commands will bring eternal life. That is why I tell you exactly what the Father has told me.
The Preacher’s Example:
(John 5:30, 31 CEV) I cannot do anything on my own. The Father sent me, and he is the one who told me how to judge. I judge with fairness, because I obey him, and I don’t just try to please myself. If I speak for myself, there is no way to prove I am telling the truth.
- Jesus made it clear that He could not do anything on His own. We would be presumptuous to think that we could do anything (spiritually) without Him.
- Jesus lived a life of obedience to the Father and His goal was to please Him and not Himself.
- This word “judge” here means to determine or decide what is true. Jesus was speaking to the ‘Jews’ how were in opposition to Him. He determined and decided what was true based on what He received from the Father.
(John 6:38-40 CEV) I didn’t come from heaven to do what I want! I came to do what the Father wants me to do. He sent me, and he wants to make certain that none of the ones he has given me will be lost. Instead, he wants me to raise them to life on the last day. My Father wants everyone who sees the Son to have faith in him and to have eternal life. Then I will raise them to life on the last day.
- Jesus did not come with a personal agenda, He came to do (and only do) what the Father wanted Him to do.
- He was on a mission to make certain that none of the ones the Father gave Him would be lost.
- He came to bring eternal life to those that would have faith in Him.
(John 8:47-50 CEV) Anyone who belongs to God will listen to his message. But you refuse to listen, because you don’t belong to God. The people told Jesus, “We were right to say that you are a Samaritan and that you have a demon in you!” Jesus answered, “I don’t have a demon in me. I honor my Father, and you refuse to honor me. I don’t want honor for myself. But there is one who wants me to be honored, and he is also the one who judges.
- Jesus came to bring honor to the Father and not Himself. Many of His followers wanted Him to rise up as their king and tear down the Roman Empire, but Jesus was not waived by their desires. He was focused on the Father’s plan for His life.
As Ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we would do well in looking to Jesus as our ultimate example. In these few verses we see a God-man that was:
- Dependant on the Father
- Obedient to the Father
- Judged based on the Father’s rule — in our case that would be the Word of God
- Followed the Father’s agenda and not His own
- Stayed focused on His mission until it was done
The Preacher’s Ear:
(John 8:23-29 CEV) Jesus answered, “You are from below, but I am from above. You belong to this world, but I don’t. That is why I said you will die with your sins unforgiven. If you don’t have faith in me for who I am, you will die, and your sins will not be forgiven.” “Who are you?” they asked Jesus. Jesus answered, “I am exactly who I told you at the beginning. There is a lot more I could say to condemn you. But the one who sent me is truthful, and I tell the people of this world only what I have heard from him.” No one understood that Jesus was talking to them about the Father. Jesus went on to say, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, you will know who I am. You will also know that I don’t do anything on my own. I say only what my Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. I always do what pleases him, and he will never leave me.”
- Jesus said only what He was taught from the Father. Jesus said only what He heard. Because He strictly followed this pattern, the text says that He always did what pleased the Father and that Father was always with Him.
Jesus had communion with the Father and spent time listening to Him. Many, many times, He went off early in the morning to pray. He spent hours in prayer, sometimes even all night. He would pray in the morning and then know what to do in the day, because He had already heard from the Father. If we are to be effective Ministers of the Gospel, we must learn to tune in the ‘Preacher Ear’ to the voice of the Father. We must hear before we speak. We must receive before we transmit. I call this the ‘Preacher’s Ear!’
The Preacher’s Eye:
(John 5:19, 20 CEV) Jesus told the people: I tell you for certain that the Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing, and he does exactly what he sees the Father do. The Father loves the Son and has shown him everything he does. The Father will show him even greater things, and you will be amazed.
- Jesus did only what He saw the Father doing and He did exactly just that. Because of His obedience, the Father kept showing Himself to the Son (see John 14:21 for us today). Jesus said that the Father would even show him greater things and they would be amazed. This showed the progressive revelation of God in the life of the believer.
Jesus not only heard what the Father wanted Him to hear, but He also saw (in the Spirit) what the Father wanted Him to see. Most people can see, but very few have ‘vision.’ Pastor is the visionary of this house, but you should be the visionaries of your lives and ministry. Seek God for vision in your life. Can you ‘see’ yourself ministering to the needy? Can you ‘see’ yourself laying hands on the sick and watching them recover? Can you ‘see’ yourself casting our demons? Etc. God often times gives us glimpses of our future, but we must spend time with Him. Before Jesus did, He saw. I call this the ‘Preacher’s Eye!’
The Preacher’s Tongue:
(John 12:49,50 CEV) I don’t speak on my own. I say only what the Father who sent me has told me to say. I know that his commands will bring eternal life. That is why I tell you exactly what the Father has told me.
- Since was a conduit of the Father. He surrendered Himself to be arms, legs, eyes, and mouth to the Father. He did not speak His own words, but He spoke only what He received.
The Preacher’s Tongue must follow the Preacher’s Ear and the Preacher’s Eye. The Father is obligated to perform His Word, but not ours. When we say that He told us to say, we will see Him back up His Words with His Power! Don’t ever attempt to speak until you have heard or seen. I call this the ‘Preacher’s Tongue!’
His Message was Pertinent:
He offered fish to fishermen: (Mar 1:16-18 CEV) As Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were fishermen and were casting their nets into the lake. Jesus said to them, “Come with me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him.
- Jesus met people where they were. He understood the setting, the timing, the opportunity, etc. and never messed it up by speaking untimely words. He always spoke a relevant and pertinent message.
- He met some avid and expert fishermen one day. They were busy doing their thing. They were fishing and had years of experience. Jesus wet their appetites by invited them to come and fish, but then intrigued them with a catch they had never caught — Men! Jesus’ message was relevant to fishermen. His message was interesting in that this was not a normal practice (fishing for men). His message was practical – Follow Me!
He offered water to a thirsty woman: (Joh 4:13-14 CEV) Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.”
- To a woman that came with a bucket in her hand and a thirst in her mouth, he offered living water. He contrasted the water she came to receive with a water that was far better. One taste of this water and she would never be thirsty again. One taste of this water and the water would flow in her life for ever. Jesus met her where she was and drew her in with her natural need and then offered her something better.
He offers bread to a hungry crowd: (John 6:35 NIV) Jesus replied: “I am the bread that gives life! No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty.”
- Jesus had recently fed 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch. The multitude was looking for Him and found Him on the other side of the lake. They came because they wanted more fish and loaves. He told them about the Manna from heaven that God provided their forefathers in the wilderness. This Manna was good, but only for one day. He explained that the Father would give obedient believers true bread from heaven that was not temporal. They liked this idea and asked for some of ‘that’ bread. Why? Because Jesus understood the setting and he understood the people. He listened to the Father and offered them what was appropriate for the time — The Bread of Life!
He offers light while in the presence of two huge candelabras: (John 8:12 CEV) Once again Jesus spoke to the people. This time he said, “I am the light for the world! Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life.”
- Jesus was in the Jerusalem for the feast of the Tabernacles in the Women’s Court. There were two huge candelabras in this court. The candelabras were a reminder of the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that God used to guide the nation of Israel through the wilderness. They were normally lit after the evening sacrifice and the light is said to have traveled throughout the entire city. Many people danced and rejoiced around the lights. Jesus used this opportunity to contrast their limited and finite light with an offer for a light that would light up the entire world. Jesus understood the setting and offered an eternal light!
Jesus never preached an untimely message. His message was always in season and it was always right on time. He heard and saw before He spoke and it was always a blessing to those that received it!
Tune in the Preacher’s Ear. Sharpen the Preacher’s Eye. Loose the Holy Spirit to use the Preacher’s Tongue. Allow God to preach a Pertinent and Powerful messages through you every time He allows you the opportunity!
What has this lesson taught your part in Preaching?
What has this lesson taught you about your responsibility to God as a Minister?
What changes, if any, should you now make in light of this information?
Quick Notes on The Word of God: (return to top of page)
The bible is a compilation of 66 books, written by 40 authors, over a period that spanned over 1500 years. Its last recorded words were documented about 2000 years ago. It was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and has been translated into almost every language on the planet. Within the languages there are several versions. For example, our language (English) has many, many versions — all of the same ancient text.
All of this can seem a bit confusing, but within the confusion lies the blessing of the bible. The mere fact that we have the bible today is a miracle in and of itself. The mere fact that 40 authors can write 66 books over a 1500 year span and they all come together as one sacred text is nothing less than an act of God. I can round up 40 people from the same neighborhood, the same culture, the same economic background, and the similar mental capacity and I could not get them to come up with anything comparable to the bible. Its books were written by different people, in different times, for different reasons, but they have all come together as one work. Why? Because the people penned the scriptures, but they were not the authors. They wrote the letters, but they did not manufacture the Words. They were the tools, but the Holy Spirit was the Mastermind. The Holy Spirit breathed and the Holy Spirit inspired the words in the Word! The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write this to Timothy about His Miraculous work: (II Tim 3:16,17 NIV) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Quick Notes on Preaching with Purpose: (return to top of page)
|Purposes of a Sermon|
|To Teach||Instruct||To communicate and idea|
|To Delight||Inspire||To enhance an affection|
|To Persuade||Influence||To motivate to action|
|Building Blocks of a Sermon|
|Becoming More Specific (The Big Idea!)|
|In one sentence, what is this Sermon about?|
|What do I want my listeners to KNOW?|
|What do I want my listeners to FEEL?|
|What do I want my listeners to DO?|
|How does this fit with the larger VISION?|
|Becoming More Passionate|
|Do I really believe this message will make a difference?|
|Has this sermon made a difference in my life this week?|
|Have I earnestly prayed for God to speak through me?|
|Have I used the materials of other inappropriately?|
|Have I tried to make myself look better than I am?|
|Will they know how much I love them?|
|Change your language from YOU to WE.|
|Change your language from SHOULD to ARE.|
9 Keys to Effective Preaching: (return to top of page)
- Preach to Reach: Preach to the lost. We must never forget that the Mission of the Church — our original purpose — is to reach the lost for Jesus. Preach the living Word to a dying and decaying world. Preach the gospel message and watch as souls are saved; to the glory of God. Billy Graham has led more souls to Christ than anyone in history and when asked, “If you knew as a young preacher what you know now, would your preaching have emphasized something more?” Billy said, “The cross of Christ and the blood. That’s where the power is.” We must never forget to put some “blood” in our preaching.
- Preach to Restore: Preach to the broken. The world is full of despair, disappointment, and disillusionment. People are hurting and in pain. Many have psychological scars that run much deeper than physical ones. Many of today’s youth have been molested and abused (physically and mentally). People come to church hurting and they are looking to Jesus to heal the hurt and remove the pain. Our preaching should reach out to them with a message of Reconciliation and Restoration.
- Preach to Ignite: Preach to those whose flame burning dim. We live in a time of many ‘Bible Churches.’ Many folk don’t need another bible study, what they need is to DO what it is that they already KNOW. Many of us know much more than we do (preachers included). The preached Word of God should ignite the fire that is lying dormant in the lives of the listeners. This is what Paul told his son in the faith (Timothy) when he said, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands” (II Tim 1:6). This word means to ‘poke.’ Kind of like the way we use a poker in the fireplace. After a while, the fire lies dormant and the wood needs to be poked and prodded. The fire is still there, but it is dormant in the embers. Once the embers are broken, the fire comes out! This is what our preaching should do. Re-igniting the flames of Destiny in the lives of God’s people!
- Preach to Inspire: Preach to the downtrodden. I often times says that we live in a dying and decaying world. Many come to church with their heads held down and need to be lifted up. No one can come in contact with Jesus and remain the same. Preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified and watch people come in one way and they leave another. As preachers, we do not have to manufacturer this result, all we must do is present Jesus. When we Him up, He will lift up the people. Allow God to use you to inspire His people for His glory!
- Preach to Instruct: Many think of Chuck Swindoll, Adrian Rodgers, Fred Price, Creflo Dollar, Charles Stanley and the like as great teachers. Others think of T.D. Jakes, Noel Jones, Jasper Williams, Charles Blake, Kenneth Ulmer, and the like as great preachers. But the truth of the matter is that preaching involves teaching. We must always seek to inspire, but inspiration without instruction can only take you but so far. Now there are times where we are called upon to simply “Ignite and Inspire.” In these occasions, it is not the time for careful, verse-by-verse, exposition of the text. Sometimes we just need to ‘Praise Him!’ But for the most part, our preaching should also include instruction. The preached Word of God should teach us how to live prosperous and productive lives in the earth. The preached Word of God should teach us to be victorious in every area of our lives. So Ignite and Inspire, but also Instruct!
- Preach to People, not to Numbers: Daniel Crawford said, “The best preacher is the pastor of a small church who in season and out preaches the Word of God with conviction and passion, who exposes the congregation to the whole of Scripture, not just a few favorite passages, and whose study and love of the Word is reflected in the way he/she responds to situations of daily life.” You may not ever have a television ministry. You may never see your name in lights. You may never see your name in print like a Jakes or a Swindoll; but when you stand before God, he will not be looking through newspaper clippings about you, he will be looking at the lives that He was able to minister to, because of your yieldedness and surrender to Him. If you preach to 5, 50, or 5,000; preach like it is your last time. Remember the words of Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones, “I preach as never sure to preach again, as a dying man, to dying men!” Preach to people, not numbers!
- Preach the Word: Preachers do not have anything to preach, outside of the Word of God! It is the Word of God that saves, delivers, and sets free. It is the Word of God that can turn hopeless situations around. We can have different delivery styles, but delivery must not negate content. The content of our message must be the Word of God! Going back to what Daniel Crawford said, preach “the whole scripture.” Don’t limit yourself to famous passages or parables, preach the entire Word to the entire man — to the glory of God! But then this will require you to read, study, and pray; because you cannot share what you do not have!
- Apply the Word to Daily Life: Effective preachers always turn the corner from information to application. They are able to bridge the gap between biblical times and today’s issues. A sailor just off a whaling expedition asked where he could hear a good sermon. When he got back from the church his friend recommended to him, the friend asked him how he liked the sermon. His reply was: “Not very much. It was like a ship leaving for the whale fishing–everything ship shape; anchors, cordage, sails, and provisions all right, but there were no harpoons on board.” Preaching without application is like attempting to go whale fishing without harpoons. You can travel a great distance, but you won’t really accomplish anything. Someone else said of messages with no application — “Big wind. Much lightening. Loud thunder. No rain!“
- Be Yourself: It does not matter whether or not you have theatrical style of T.D. Jakes, the careful expository style of Chuck Swindoll, or the fiery style of Rod Parsley; what is important to God is that you birth OUT of you those things that God has impregnated IN you! Imitation is inevitable at first. A child will always imitate their parents. They will talk like them and act like them. But there comes a point in a child’s life where they develop a personality of their own. There will come a time in your ministry where you need to be yourself. God did not call you to be a mimic of someone else; God called you to be YOU! Allow God to bless His people with His Word and YOUR Mouth!
Advice to Beginning Preachers: (return to top of page)
- It is the Holy Spirit that convicts and not the preacher
- Never seek to entertain, but rather to allow God to meet the needs of the needy
- Preach the text and preach it in context
- Never preach personal issues
- Know your time frame and operate therein
- Never do altar ministry or give an altar call unless given expressed permission from the Pastor
- You do not have to accept every invitation to preach; be led of the Spirit and always seek permission from your Pastor
- Never ask for an opportunity to preach
- Know that you are called and allow God to solidify your call in your heart
- Knowing that you are called by God, wait on God to supernaturally present opportunities for you to minister and make full proof of your calling — these opportunities are not limited to the pulpit
- When called upon to preach from the pulpit — Pray, prepare, and allow the Holy Spirit to Preach!
Other Online Ministry Resources (also see links page): (return to top of page)
References: (return to top of page)
How to know God – Walk through several lessons from Gospelcom.net
Internet for Christians – Another Source for great Christian links
Bible Studies Foundation: All sorts of study Resources
Web Bible – An internet Bible Study resource center
Discover God Online – Free Online Bible Guides
Christians Unite – Online Bible Study aides
BibleInfo.com – Another source for Bible Answers
Bible&References – Reference tools from Christianity.com
Acts17:11: Bible Studies on various subjects
100prophecies.com: Great information about Biblical prophecies
Christian History Institute – Where the Church’s past is our present
Institute for Christian Leadership – Guide to early Church documents
World Wide Study Bible – Click on each book of the Bible and get a world of information
Bible Gateway – Search the Bible with study tools
Bible Answers – From Bible.com
E-Sword – Free Bible software you can download that is loaded with features
Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) – Absolutely packed with Bible Resources!
***Also from CARM:
Regarding the Bible
Bible Chronology of the Old Testament
Bible Chronology of the New Testament
Books of the Old Testament
Books of the New Testament
What is the Canon of Scripture?
Other books mentioned in the Bible
When was the Bible written and who wrote it?
The Greek and Hebrew Alphabet with numeric equivalents
Answers to Questions about the Bible
What is the canon of Scripture?
Can we trust the New Testament as a historical document?
Wasn’t the New Testament written hundreds of years after Christ?
Hasn’t the Bible been rewritten so many times it can’t be trusted?
Since the NT writers were biased, can we trust what they wrote?
What is the gospel of Q and does it prove the Gospels are false?
Why isn’t there other evidence of the massacre of the babies?
Why isn’t there any record of millions of Jews wandering in the desert?
Do the lost books of the Bible prove that the Bible has been altered?
Is there non-biblical evidence of a day of darkness at the crucifixion?
Does the Bible tell us if there is life on other planets?
What does the Bible say about divorce?
What does it mean when the Bible refers to the “third heaven”?
Does the Bible forbid Interracial Marriages?
What is biblical numerology?
Are the New Testament themes found in the Old Testament?
Evidence supporting the Bible
Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability
Illustration of Bible text manuscript tree and variant readings
Non-biblical accounts of New Testament events and/or people
Archaeological Evidence verifying biblical cities
The writings of Josephus mention many biblical people and places
When were the gospels written and by whom?
What does the Bible say about…?
Does the Bible tell us if there is life on other planets?
What does the Bible say about divorce?
What does it mean when the Bible refers to the “third heaven”?
Does the Bible forbid Interracial Marriages?
What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
What does the Bible say about artificial insemination?
Blue Letter Bible – A Great Bible Study Tool
***Also from Blue Letter Bible:
Chart: The Books of the Bible
Miracles Recorded in the Old Testament
Miracles Recorded in the Gospels
Miracles Recorded in the Book of Acts
Parables Recorded in the Old Testament
Parables Recorded in the Gospels
Timeline: Adam to Augustine
Timeline: The Apostle Paul
Timeline: Acts and the Epistles
The Names of God
Portraits of the Apostles
Chart – The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Map – Hebrew Map
Map – Ancient Jerusalem
Map – Modern Jerusalem
Drawing – The Ark and the Mercy Seat
More Charts, Timelines, and Other Resources