TOPIC: Six Steps to Excellence in Ministry
Are you on the path to excellence in your ministry? Every Christian has a calling to fulfill, and following these steps will ensure your success!
You are called to ministry. Whether God has called you to be a pastor or a first-rate engineer, if you are a born-again Christian, God has a purpose for your life that will further the kingdom of God. He strategically places His people all over the world—not only in pulpits and on mission fields, but in homes, offices, schools and the marketplace.
But to succeed in ministry, it isn’t as simple as heeding the call. To be effective and fulfill God’s purpose for your ministry, you need to get on the road to excellence, run the race, and “obtain the prize.”
The ministry of Jesus was one of excellence, and one that laid the foundation for success. Once you know your calling, to follow Jesus’ example, you must pursue excellence in every aspect of your life and ministry.
What Is Excellence?
The root of the word excellent is excel, which means “to rise to the highest place or to pass in accomplishments or achievement, to be distinguishable by superiority.” Excellence does everything with the highest quality and integrity. It is never subpar or mediocre in any way. Excellence stands above the rest.
In ministry, a spirit of excellence is a desire to reach toward God, rather than get something from God. That’s why a ministry of excellence will never promote itself or force success. It allows the gospel to do the promoting.
To honor God and find success in your calling, begin by following these six steps to excellence in ministry.
Step No. 1: Be Dedicated to Excellence in Ministry
A ministry of excellence is a ministry that does not plan to fail. Whatever you have been called to—pastor, apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher or any other role in the Body of Christ, the Lord will not revoke the assignment given to you (Romans 11:29), so you are responsible for how you handle your calling. To do that, you must be dedicated to excellence in every area of your ministry and dedicated to success.
When you stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, it will be in the light of your calling—not what you did, not what you meant to do or wished you had done, but what God said you were appointed to do. This applies not only to the fivefold ministry but to every member of Christ’s Body.
When you finally make a full, no-quit, no-turn-back, forever commitment to God, fulfilling your calling will be the most exciting thing you’ve ever done. He ordained you before the foundation of the world, but He did not leave you on your own! God has provided the power, furnished the weapons and equipped you with everything you need to fulfill your calling. Your part is to make a decision to be dedicated to your calling—a decision to pursue and maintain excellence in your ministry.
Step No. 2: Have Singleness of Purpose
What does it mean to have singleness of purpose? It means to be single-minded and driven in one direction. If you drive a car without a single destination in mind, you’ll be zigzagging and driving in circles. You won’t get anywhere! But when you have singleness of purpose, everything you do will drive you in that one direction.
What is your single purpose as a minister of God? To meet the needs of people. Many individuals and ministries often lose sight of this purpose. They get distracted with the number of people responding to them, the budget, projects or publicity. They don’t mean to, but sooner or later, they forget their purpose—to meet the needs of people.
We find in James 1:6-8 why single-mindedness is so important: “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (NKJV).
The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition, says, “[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating…).” What happens when you hesitate? Your adversary takes the first step. You find yourself on the defensive, with Satan ahead of you and beating you at every turn. If you are not single-minded about your purpose for the calling God has for you, you will not have any definite direction. You will always be wondering what you are supposed to do.
A double-minded man tries to operate in fear and faith at the same time. He does this by making plans in the flesh and preparing for defeat if what he wishes to come to pass doesn’t happen. As long as you’re making provision in the flesh, you’re making provision for failure. A man of faith never makes provision for failure. You will never find God playing nine-inning games. He plays until He wins.
Meet the needs of people. Say it out loud, “The singleness of purpose of my ministry is to meet the needs of people.” If you are going to do that, you are going to have to live by faith, because that is the only way you are ever going to meet their needs. Be determined to have excellence in your ministry, to live by faith, and to meet the needs of people.
Step No. 3: Follow the Leadership of the Holy Spirit
The path to excellence in life and in ministry is always the same—follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Let’s face it, your mind likes to do a lot of its own planning, but if you lean on your own understanding, it’s only a matter of time before you fall flat. God has called you to a particular ministry, and He fully intends to lead you into excellence, success and a life beyond what you could ever imagine on your own.
That’s why He has given you the Holy Spirit—to guide you, instruct you and keep you on the path to excellence. A person who desires a ministry of excellence should pray in tongues at least an hour a day, and particularly before you preach or minister. Then, learn to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit within you. You will find yourself equipped with the answer to any challenge that comes your way.
Kenneth Copeland has found this to be true throughout his more than 50 years in the ministry. He once shared about a time when he first started in the ministry and found himself in a position where he needed the ministry of the Holy Spirit while he was preaching.
“One night, as I was preaching, I remember that the anointing was really strong, when a woman in the audience suddenly burst forth in tongues. I felt like someone had stood up and doused me with a fire hose. I said, ‘Lady, hold that.’ She just kept on. She grew louder still. By this time, the service was in shambles. This continued on for what seemed like an eternity.
“Finally, when she hushed, I looked right at her and corrected her sternly. The man sitting next to her spoke up and said, ‘Brother Copeland, she is stone-deaf. She didn’t hear a word you said.’ I found out later that someone had planned the whole thing. He had already run half a dozen preachers out of town with the same trick.
“I just closed my eyes and inside my own consciousness I said, ‘Lord, You will have to show me what to do. I am not going to make a move until You tell me what I am to do.’
“The answer came to me. It was so simple that my carnal mind would never have thought of it. I would not have even acted on it if I had thought of it! The Lord said, ‘Call her up and lay hands on her, and I will open her ears.’ I called her up, and God opened her ears.”
If you are going to minister to people’s needs, you will have to be led of the Holy Spirit because, more often than not, you will find yourself in situations that only His wisdom can handle.
Step No. 4: Strip Away the Things of the World
Excellence in ministry requires an excellent spirit in every area. This includes the conduct of those who work with you in ministry, as well as the operations of your place of ministry. For example, if your ministry is in your home, determine to have a home that is run with excellence. This means your home will be neat and clean, it will run in an organized way, and your children will be well-behaved. More importantly, you must first determine to have excellence in your own conduct.
The same is true if you are a pastor of a church. Every part of your church should operate with excellence. But it isn’t right to demand excellence from your staff or congregation if you don’t demand excellence in your own conduct. If your ministry is in a secular field, the same is true as well. Strive for excellence—expect excellence from your staff, in the dealings of your business, and in your own conduct. You can’t live a sloppy life and have an excellent ministry.
Oral Roberts once said, “If we demand excellence out of the students at Oral Roberts University, then we have to live by excellence in front of them.”
How do you achieve this? Strip away the things of the world.
We are in this world but not of it. So, to have excellence in our ministries, we must strip away everything of the world from our lives until there is nothing left but the Word of God. Strip away your negative confessions. Put the Word of God first place in your life and allow it to strip away all other things.
You can’t sit and watch television day and night, and expect to have an excellent ministry. Break the habit. Jesus said the cares of the world will choke the Word (Mark 4:19).
Paul wrote to young Timothy, “Be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:6, KJV). We cannot “feed” off of TV and be “good ministers of Jesus Christ.” We’ve got to strip away the things of the world to be effective.
Step No. 5: Look to the Word of God Day and Night
We already know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17, NKJV). So, to achieve excellence in ministry, look to the Word of God day and night. It will guide you and keep you on the road to excellence. It will keep you from turning to the right or the left or using worldly wisdom to determine the path of your ministry.
Proverbs 4:20-22 says, “My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.” The Word is life and healing, and it stands for excellence in all things.
Exalt the Word in your life and ministry. Let it do the work. If there is ever a problem, apply God’s wisdom to it. Speak and act only on the Word. If you exalt the Word, people will be delivered.
In any area of ministry, if there is ever any doubt about which direction you should be headed, look toward the Word to direct you. Put the Word first. If you do this, everything else will take care of itself.
Step No. 6: Spend Time Fasting
To keep in tune with the Holy Spirit in your ministry, spend time fasting. The spiritual practice of fasting will help you hear from God and keep your flesh in line. Remember—fasting doesn’t push God into action, it helps you hear from God. He is always talking to us, but sometimes our “receiver” isn’t working as it should. Fasting is a tool that puts us in position to be more spiritually aware and “tuned in” to God.
Anyone who desires an excellent ministry continually seeks God for direction. A fast will put you in the position to hear from God to receive guidance for a specific situation. Remember to keep your fast private and follow Jesus’ guidelines (Matthew 6:16-18). Hypocritical piety will defeat the purpose of a fast. If you publicize your spirituality, you will exchange the reward from God for a reward from men.
Spend time fasting and submitting your ministry to the leading of the Lord. This will help ensure excellence in your ministry every step of the way.
In conclusion, when you put these six steps to excellence in ministry into practice, you will fulfill the calling and purpose of God for your life. Whatever He has called you to do, purpose in your heart to do it with excellence. Then, when the time comes, you will hear those wonderful, beautiful words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Kenneth Copeland Ministries is dedicated to building up believers’ faith and deepening their walk with Christ, so they can live the victorious life God promised.