Excellence and Integrity in Ministry: An introduction

Excellence and Integrity in Ministry
Northern Region Minister’s Advance

Psalm 78:72 opens for us the fact that ministry flows, by God’s choice, through people, the integrity of their heart, and the skillfulness of their hands.

DAVID

The emphasis of this passage is upon one person.

There is no mention of circumstances, global challenges, family problems, wealth or poverty, health, size of the country, or strength of the military. Simply one man, David, is the focal point.

Sometimes in Christian leadership one gets lost in the mission, systems, meetings, committees, and demands of the congregation, with the result of feeling that one is less human, less alive, and less valuable.

The steal, kill, and destroy work of the Enemy is often at work upon the Christian leader through systems and processes, selfish and/or wicked leaders or church goers who suck the God breathed abundant life out of one’s soul.

When the Christian leader becomes a thing, one of the worst possible catastrophes has occurred. He who was formed in God’s image and who received God’s breath of life, has now become, simply, inanimate, dead, and lifeless, bones.

Genesis 2:7

THEM

The second emphasis of this passage is upon the unidentified “Them.”

Ministry is a life of sacrificial service to “them.”

“Them” can be cute and cuddly, ugly and mean, enemies, high and mighty or low and weak.

God does not allow you to choose your own “Thems.” He puts the “Thems” in your life that will be good for you and you will be good for them.

Judas was one of Jesus’ “thems,” and so was the adulterous woman, the 5,000 hungry people, Mary, and the Romans who nailed him to the cross.

When the appetite for personal gain enters a minister’s heart, ministry is almost always destroyed.

WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DAVID AND THEM?

David shepherd’s them with integrity of heart.

From my understanding, shepherding is about the well being of the sheep.

The shepherd is responsible for the overall health, safety, and reproduction of the sheep.

David led them with skillful hands.

From my understanding, leading is about the direction of the sheep.

Always remember, just as you don’t get to choose “them” they don’t get to choose their shepherd. At least in my theology, God assigns, to each Christian, the person who will be their shepherd.

RESPONSE

1. Since the emphasis of this passage is upon one person, how physically, relationally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy are you?
2. With the second emphasis of our text upon “them,” how sacrificial have you been for your flock? Do you see selfishness in your heart? Has personal gain found a foothold?
3. Third, this passage emphasizes the relationship between David and “them.” How is your relationship with “them?” Are you shepherding with a heart of wholeness? Are you developing the skills of leadership?

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