15 Keys to Long Term Ministry

Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint.

Steve Marcum

Minister, Missions

Listen to full lesson

1. Make sure your priorities are in order.

a. You are first called to minister to your family.
b. Other interests must not interfere with your calling, vocation, family, or ministry.
c. Revisit your priorities from time to time.

2. Understand and submit to your authorities.

a. You will never be ‘over’ until you’ve learned to be ‘under.’
b. If you don’t understand this concept, you’re going to struggle.
c. If you can’t do this, then you need to quietly walk away from the position.
d. There will always be a ‘political’ arrangement at any church or ministry. There is always a pecking order.
e. You will just need to get used to the fact that politics will always be a part of ministry. You have to learn to work within this.

3. Loyalty to your team and others is a key.

a. Constantly be looking out for your co-workers.
b. The best ministry is team ministry.
c. A team properly taught to work together can achieve so much more than they can alone.
d. Affirm the giftedness of others and allow them to express their God-given gifts within ministry.
e. Maintain unity.
f. Speak the truth in love.

4. Maintain a daily quiet time with the Lord.

a. Begin every day with the Lord.
b. Time in the Word and time in prayer.
c. Develop the discipline of journaling as you hear from God.
d. Put on the whole armor of God when you begin your day.
e. Prepare for battle before you begin your day. You are in a spiritual battle.
f. Most Christians ignore the devil and don’t realize that many of their problems are spiritual.
g. Mark Bubeck – The Adversary – book on spiritual warfare.
h. The enemy will do everything he can to discourage and defeat you.

5. Stay current both vertically and horizontally.

a. Daily deal with any spiritual and relational problems.
b. 1 John 1:9 – God is faithful to forgive when we confess.
c. James 5:16 – confess to one another.
d. If there is a problem at home, in ministry you must deal with it.

6. Give your best in all areas of your life.

a. Be diligent.
b. Don’t be afraid of the difficult.
c. Dare the unusual.
d. Dream the impossible
e. Do your best.
f. Titus 2:7 – we are to be a pattern of good works.
g. Be a life-long learner. Keep reading and discovering.
h. Learn to listen well.
i. Ask yourself if there is one more thing you can do for your family, your employer, and for the Lord.

7. Be a person of integrity.

a. Titus 2:7 – in everything set an example and show integrity.
b. A lack of integrity is one of the biggest problems for those in ministry today.
c. Your character is who you are when no one else is around.

8. Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint.

a. Ministry will take from you everything that you can give it. You have to learn to pace yourself.
b. If you allow it, ministry will totally consume you.
c. There are time to say ‘no’ and set boundaries.
d. See the big picture. Ministry is a life-long calling and you want to be able to serve well in the long run.
e. Take care of your physical, spiritual, and emotional health.
f. Getting wise counsel is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength.
g. The enemy would like you to run the race solo, but that will leave you vulnerable. Have accountability and support to run well.
h. Take time away, time that will refresh you.
i. Ministry is not a sprint.

9. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally.

a. Work out and take care of yourself every day.
b. Mark 6:31 – Jesus set an example of getting away to rest.
c. There is a danger of burning yourself out instead of burning the oil of the Holy Spirit.
d. The Holy Spirit will empower you, but you have a responsibility to take care of your spiritual and emotional health.

10. Relationships are important, guard them.

a. Proverbs 17:17
b. Relationships are life-giving.
c. You need close relationships and you need to invest in them.
d. You must closely guard them and protect them.

11. Reproduce yourself in others.

a. Ephesians 4:12 – equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.
b. Our job is to train others up to do the work of ministry.
c. 90% of Jesus’ time was spent with the 12 disciples. He invested most of his time in men who would change the world.
d. Do everything you can to disciple others and release them to serve.

12. See the Kingdom.

a. Most people only see their little sphere of influence, but there is so much more.
b. Help others see the big picture and how their sphere fits into that.
c. Look beyond where you are and see what God is doing.

13. Be a person of faith and trust God for the impossible.

a. If you are going to be a person of faith, you will have to trust God for the impossible.
b. God is looking for men and women who will trust and follow Him.
c. Reminder, when God calls you, He calls your spouse. Be a team together.

14. There is no waste in God’s plan.

a. God does not make mistakes in our life.
b. Your time here will be valuable in your future. There is a purpose.
c. No matter what you go through, God is going to use it in your life and particularly in ministry.
d. God is going to use every circumstance in your life to build you into who He wants you to be.

15. Commit to finish well.

a. Acts 20:24 – complete the task of testifying to the Gospel.
b. Look to the end and cultivate a desire to finish well.
c. Some of the most significant things that happen in your life may happen in your latter days.
d. Be faithful in what God has put before you now.
e. “At the end of your life, your biggest regret won’t be the things you did, but wished you hadn’t. Your greatest regret will be the things you didn’t do, but wished you did.” –Mark Batterson

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