No Need for Mediocrity

HOW do we measure up in our ministerial career? Are we the ministers we want to be or that God wants us to be? Are we seeing steady advancement in our usefulness and service to God? Our example is Christ, and by His grace we should be becoming more and more like Him in life and labor. . .

-Pastor, Washington Conference, at the time this article was written

HOW do we measure up in our ministerial career? Are we the ministers we want to be or that God wants us to be? Are we seeing steady advancement in our usefulness and service to God? Our example is Christ, and by His grace we should be becoming more and more like Him in life and labor.

Any success we experience is the result of God's Spirit working through us. Thus, there is no room for boasting. Yet what we are and what we will become depends much upon us.

Among the areas that influence our usefulness are several that demand special attention.

Priority Number One

Our personal relationship to Cod is paramount. We may have talent and ability, but Jesus says, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). Success is attained "not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord" (Zech. 4:6). We must be Spirit-filled men, allowing the Spirit to use us rather than our trying to use the Spirit. This requires earnest Bible study, prayer, and daily submission to divine guidance.

As men of prayer we must know by experience what it means to pray through to personal victory over sin and temptation, claiming the promises of the Word. We must know also what it is to wrestle with God for a soul, a city, a world!

Our love for the Bible will be the result of feasting upon it daily, thus gaining needed spiritual strength. "It is a minister's familiarity with God's word and his submission to the divine will, that gives success to his efforts." --Gospel Workers, p. 252. Along with the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy will be familiar and dear to us.

We must recognize that study and prayer become meaningful to us only as we in turn obey the light that thus shines into our lives. Surrender to the divine will must be a daily experience. Obedience to the inspired counsels on healthful living will result in clearer minds, stronger bodies, and moral stability.

Not Just a Job

Our concept of the ministry is very important. We are called by the great God of the universe to carry forward the most important work ever committed to men. We must have the spirit of Nehemiah, who, rather than be diverted from his work, declared, "I am doing a great work, so that ! cannot come down" (Neh. 6:3). Or of Paul who said, "This one thing I do" (Phil. 3:13). Our work is urgent, time is running out, Christ is coming soon. Do we realize that moments wasted may mean souls lost for the kingdom?

Our ministerial labors must spring from a deep consecration to the task. Our service to God will mean every thing to us, whether in the home, the church, or the community. Our ministry will be our life, not just a profession or obligation. Our work calls for enthusiasm. Others may be pessimistic, but we will inspire hope and courage. As we think success, talk success, and pray for success, we will enjoy success. We have the promise, "He will crown with success every humble effort made in His name."--Ibid., p. 192. Continual growth, both spiritually and in the effectiveness of our ministry, must be our constant aim.

This means we will be progressive, be willing to take chances for God. We will ever be seeking better ways of advancing His work. We will "expect great things from God, and attempt great things for God." We can not be small idea men, for we serve a great God. "Many who are qualified to do excellent work accomplish little because they attempt little." --The Ministry of Healing, p. 498.

A Soul Winner

A definite priority will be the winning of souls. The minister "has but one object in view the saving of the lost" (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 362).

Satan will keep us busy with many things in the confines of the church itself if we let him. However, our divine blueprint reads, "We are not to hover over the ninety and nine, but to go forth to save the lost, hunting them up in the wilderness of the large cities and towns." --Testimonies to Ministers, p. 232. With the unsaved all about us we will reach out, visiting every possible interest, carrying the burden of their souls on our hearts. Such visits will be meaningful.

You must educate and train yourselves to visit every family that you can possibly get access to. The results of this work will testify that it is the most profitable work a gospel minister can do. --Evangelism, p. 440.

We must not let our comfortable churches and their constant demands upon our time keep us from this all important work. Reaching out bringing new souls to Christ and His truth brings to the minister his greatest joys. If our ministry seems dull, if the spark has gone out of our work, perhaps here lies the explanation.

If the teachers of the Word are willing, the Lord will lead them into close relation with the people. He will guide them to the homes of those who need and desire the truth; and as the servants of Cod engage in the work of seeking for the lost sheep, their spiritual faculties are awakened and energized. Knowing that they are in harmony with God, they feel joyous and happy. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they obtain an experience that is in valuable to them. Their intellectual and moral powers attain their highest development; for grace is given in answer to the demand. --Ibid., pp. 434, 435.


A minister is called to preach. And to preach in the truest sense is to preach the Word. Herein lies our authority in the pulpit. We must believe what we preach, and preach what we believe. Our discourse must be an encounter with God, first for our selves and then for our congregations. We can never afford to grow careless, superficial, or negligent here.

These are some of the priorities we must ever keep in mind. Committed to them, with hearts yielded completely to our task, God will work through us in marvelous ways. We need not be mediocre. Success can attend our labors. The promise given to Joshua can be ours. "For then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (Joshua 1:8). We, too, can have the assurance that "the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest" (verse 9).

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus
-Pastor, Washington Conference, at the time this article was written

October 1972

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

God Made My Decision

LITTLE did I realize just how important these words would become to me! How desperately I clung to them as the events of 1968-1969 unfolded!

Human Variation

PEOPLE are different. Differences can be observed, for instance, in a number of individual characteristics such as personal perspectives or ways of looking at life, as well as individual life goals and achievements. We also observe differences that have to do with the human body, such as body build, skin color, hair color, and whether or not the hair is straight, wavy, or curly, as well as other characteristics. There is no question but that such variations do exist. . .

Doctor-Minister Team in Hartford, Michigan

IT IS possible to have a real sense of teamwork between the medical profession and the ministry," asserts Pastor Paul Cannon, assistant professor of religion at Andrews University and one of the directors of a two-week evangelistic series held in 1971 in Hartford, Michigan, which featured dual emphasis on physical and spiritual healing. . .

The Seventh-day Adventist Worker and Modern Theology

ONE disturbing feature that is almost universal in its influence is the weight that some of our workers place on the statements of modern theologians. Although we should be aware of and conversant with their pronouncements, it is evident to me that we should place more emphasis on the statements of the Scripture and the writings of the servant of the Lord. . .

Awake! and Strengthen What Remains

WHILE visiting in the home of friends I happened to find a conference directory. This directory had the names of all the churches in the conference, the number of members in each church, and the district in which each was located. . .

After Baptism, What?

PASTOR and his wife invited a young couple to their home for Sabbath dinner after the morning service that had featured their baptism. Shortly after dinner the couple politely excused themselves with the remark, "We had better go on home. There probably will be folks from the church stopping by this afternoon." Needless to say, the pastor did what most others would have done he called several of the members of the church suggesting they go by and call on the new members. . .

The Essence of New Testament Preaching (Part I)

WHAT was the nature of New Testament preaching that called forth the power and glory of New Testament faith? How is authentic New Testament preaching distinguished from a religious lecture or an impassioned exhortation? What should one expect of a sermon? What is its purpose? How should the preacher under stand his own relationship to the sermon? What is the "truth" that is to be proclaimed?

The Deaconess and the Communion Service (Part I)

I HAVE always considered deaconesses to be the older, staid, mother-in-Israel type women of the church, those to whom we younger women look upon with great admiration and awe; therefore, when asked to be head deaconess this year, I was almost speechless, feeling unworthy and unqualified. However, with a prayer that God would help me answer this challenge, I accepted. I decided that as head deaconess I should know more about communion services, because they would be my most important responsibility. What I learned has been very helpful to me, and I hope it will be helpful to other deaconesses as well. . .

That Dirty Pig!

ALTHOUGH much has been written about the pig and the reasons why it is classed as an unclean animal particularly abhorred by the Lord, I verily believe that the last word has not yet been scribed on the subject. Although I have lived for thirty years among the primitive people of New Guinea, I still find it a source of wonder as to why these people cling so tenaciously to this degrading quadruped. . .

Devil Warfare

WE ARE in a holy war wherein we are challenged to fight a hand-to-hand battle with the prince of darkness. In order for man to achieve victory in this battle he must do his part. He "must be victor on his own account, through the strength and grace that Jesus gives him. . ."

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up

Recent issues

See All