The nuts and bolts of ministry:

An interview with Mike Wells

James F. Howard is a freelance writer residing in Valdosta, Georgia, United States.

James Howard (JH): The body of Christ, the church, is under attack on many social, spiritual, and even physical fronts. Satan’s plan is to shake the church and cause her to be less effective in these last days. The church must stand forth and continue with no compromise to the teachings, commands, and exhortations of God, as revealed in His precious Word. Pastor Mike, many look up to you as a pastor of principle and passion. You are pastor of New Covenant Church in Valdosta, Georgia, and a leader in the nondenominational Christian Alliance Ministries, serving pastors, missionaries, and other leaders. What is the passion that drives your ministry?

Mike Wells (MW): Our focus is to have the love of God poured out in great measure to all our Christian leaders, so that they know, without a doubt, that they are loved. The time together is for leaders to refresh themselves and love on one another in the Lord and be there for one another. We provide tools for pastors to use in building up their congregations.

JH: Let’s talk about local congregations. How do you handle conflict resolution within the church?

MW: Matthew 18:15–18 gives the blueprint in dealing with conflict. But the bottom line is to live Ephesians 4:1–3, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with . . . lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” [NKJV].

The church is to walk in unity, and conflict violates that unity and hampers the calling to be conformed to the image of Christ. We must learn to walk in the Spirit of love and forgiveness and let the others see that while the world is vexed and conflicted on all fronts, we can be at peace and unity. According to Jesus, we are to shine as light in unity, but when conflict arises among us, that light can be dimmed.

JH: What methods do you have to help new believers grow in the grace and knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus Christ?

MW: I believe, as do the other leaders of the church, that those just receiving Christ need to be grounded in the Word of God. That is vital to growth. New believers must be led through basic doctrines and teachings of the Word of God. They may, therefore, grow to be healthy Christians and fulfill God’s calling on their lives. Many times, those just coming to the Lord are left to grow up on their own, and we as a body believe that people are especially vulnerable when first “born again.” They need direct teaching to be grounded in truth from the beginning.

Paul taught much on foundational truths. Romans is an in-depth look at salvation by grace alone. In Titus, he teaches us that faithful preaching leads to growth in the Word and the Spirit. One-on-one discipleship is very effective. We employ this in the church. People can then be allowed to ask questions and gain greater understanding of the Word.

We rejoice, as leadership, when someone or a family goes forth after sitting under the ministry here to accomplish the things for which God anointed them.

JH: How do you handle the issue of time management with all the different people and issues pulling on your time?

MW: Time can be a friend or an enemy of a pastor. With all that a pastor must do to effectively lead a church, he or she has to be a time manager. He or she must, first and foremost, spend time with God. A pastor cannot effectively minister to the people unless he or she follows the pattern of Jesus. He or she must spend much time with God. His or her family must come right after that. Many times, pastors use their time ministering to the hurt to the detriment of their own family. The Word says if a man cannot handle his responsibility to his family, how can he lead the church of the living God? So, my wife and children must occupy quality measures of my time.

Another way for a pastor to manage time is to delegate authority. Many times, pastors feel that they must do it all, and that leaves the church hurting. A good time manager delegates different parts of the ministry. He or she has trusted people running different areas; delegates worship leaders, usher leaders, deacon leaders, elders, maintenance leaders, office managers, and administrators. When all these parts are running smoothly, then the pastor can be free to pray and seek which way to carry the church by the leading of the Holy Spirit. A pastor must be one of vision and work with that vision for greater good and growth of the body. No minister is an island unto himself or herself, and time is critical. It is short and must be managed for, as the Word says, life is but a vapor (James 4:14).

JH: What is your conviction on lay training?

MW: I really don’t like the distinction of clergy and laity. I know in the Old Testament that the Levites were set apart from the rest. They didn’t have land, and they got their food from the sacrifices. God had set forth that the Israelites were to be ministers. Exodus nineteen, six, says, “ ‘ “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel’ ” [NKJV]. We read later where John speaks of what Jesus did. Revelation one tells us, “And has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” [v. 6, NKJV].

Every member of the church is a minister. They may not be in a pulpit, but they are ministers in the marketplace, in their neighborhoods, wherever they go. The fivefold ministry has a specific role, and that is to train and equip these ministers. Ephesians four, eleven and twelve says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” [NKJV].

From these Scriptures, the leaders are to train up and send forth each person as a minister in their sphere of life. We believe in training people and then sending them forth into the vision of ministry that God has given them. We rejoice, as leadership, when someone or a family goes forth after sitting under the ministry here to accomplish the things for which God anointed them. Ephesians two, ten: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” [NKJV]. We stand to bring out that work for God in each person as ministers.

JH: How do you define continuing education?

MW: It is written out in Ephesians 4, and I want to quote from Scripture the whole passage. It is vital to church edification and education in the things of God.

“Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love,” verses thirteen through sixteen [NKJV].

The focus of the church and leadership is to have a pure doctrine, unity in the Spirit, and each person doing their part. We see from Scripture that the church should be educated and have growth. Today, many false teachings run rampant. The pastor and leadership have to confront this and not allow it inside the church, for it is dangerous and grows rapidly. I personally guard what teaching and doctrine are allowed in the body.

JH: What does administration look like to you in the church?

MW: An anointed administrator is the lifeblood to the church—one who can take the pioneer spirit and vision of the pastor and make it a reality in concrete application. The administrator must be the supply line for the pastor. If a pioneering, visionary pastor doesn’t have a focused and God-led administrator, then the supply lines to the church suffer greatly. I am truly blessed to have an administrator who can take the vision and spirit I have for the future of the body and make it happen. It relieves me of unnecessary concern, and I can focus on pastoring. The administrator is a hire that can be a blessing or a curse.

JH: Is there anything more you would like to convey?

MW: I want it to be known that pastors and leaders aren’t to be looked upon as better or more gifted than anyone else. They are to shepherd the sheep; they are to concern themselves with the souls of the people that God had entrusted to them. A humble spirit and a great desire to serve must be the catalyst to drive a pastor. Having the call and responsibility of being a pastor is an awesome undertaking, and the heart of the pastor must be that of a servant and not of a tyrant or despot.

Peter summed it up in 1 Peter 5:1-4: “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock, and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” [NKJV].

To bring all I have said into focus, the church is a living, breathing organism of God, by Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Each person in the church who is born again has something to do in ministry and for the Lord. This is so the church may grow and sustain herself in love. I am thankful God has given me the work of the ministry, in helping to see others go forth and do as God has called them. Ministry is a serious matter to the Lord.

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James F. Howard is a freelance writer residing in Valdosta, Georgia, United States.

January 2021

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