10 Keys to Sustaining the Ministry Life
These essential practices will prepare you for the long haul.
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6. Take care of yourself physically. Join a gym. Get into the habit of walking with a friend. Watch your diet. It is not enough that you're involved in ministry. It is not even enough that you grow in internal purity and intimacy with God. You are a whole person. Your life is integrated—body, soul and spirit. You cannot neglect your body or your emotional life and continue to do well. So, take care of yourself physically.
7. Do not confuse knowledge or skills or giftedness for spiritual maturity. You are gifted. You may know a lot. You may help many people. None of those things are the same as spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity is a matter of your internal character, your honesty, your willingness to forgive everyone for everything, your joy during trials, your trust in the sovereignty of God, your endurance in hard times, and your unwillingness to compromise integrity. Don't confuse knowledge or skills or giftedness for spiritual maturity.
8. If you are married, take a great marriage inventory with your spouse and have a professional marriage counselor discuss the results with you. Here at Vineyard Columbus we offer a marriage inventory called LIMRI. We have regular marriage retreats. Do a marriage inventory at the front-end of pastoring, and every few years after that.
9. Join a small group (if married, join with your spouse). Christianity is a team sport. We cannot grow successfully apart from biblical community. Join a men's group, a women's group, a coed group, or a recovery group where you can know and be known.
10. Cultivate the fear of the Lord and a fear of sin. We sinners always dreadfully underestimate the cost of sin and dreadfully overestimate our ability to manage the consequences after we choose to sin. Sin costs, and once you choose to sin, the consequences are out of your hands. We read in Proverbs 14:26-27, "Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death."
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 says, "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?"
Psalm 34:9 tells us this: "Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing."
Psalm 128:1 says: "Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him."
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