Recently the WestCentral Africa Ministerial Advisory was held in Accra, Ghana. Pastor Luka Daniel, Division president, was unable to attend the meetings, but he sent a powerful message that can motivate all who are involved in God’s work. It is a pleasure to share his message with you.
As you gather here in Accra for the Advisory of the Ministerial Association of West-Central Africa Division, I welcome you to an occasion where you have the opportunity to learn from the various speakers who will be addressing you and from your interactions with each other. I entreat you to add to your strategies the following five Ps of effective ministry.
Pray honestly for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The Spirit can give us the power and wisdom we need to face the challenges of the ministry. That is why prayer should come first in everything we undertake. Some of our ministers care for 20 or more congregations, and some run one or more churches, in addition to being administrators and/or directors. We must pray the prayer Christ Himself suggests in Luke 10:2: “Then He said to them: ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” (NKJV).
Plan your ministry and do not leave anything to chance! It is rightly said that he who fails to plan plans to fail. There should be no room for failure in our ministry. As a Division, we have planned, among other things, to challenge every member to be a witness, winning at least one soul per member in five years. Hence, we have introduced the popular slogan “Win One, Each One! Each One, Tell the World!” If we succeed in this approach, all soul-winning and church-planting objectives and goals will be reached easily to the glory of God, the true SoulWinner. We know that for this to happen, we must plan with Him, realizing the invaluable reminder in Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established” (RSV).
Proclaim the Word of God, rather than human theories! The world is full of many teachings that may be popular, probably because they are full of words and phrases that are politically correct; they may also be popular because they focus on “prosperity gospel.” But the Master did not mince words, neither was He vague when He gave the Gospel Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:19, 20, NKJV).
The Gospel proclamation is not merely a matter of passing on information about salvation. It includes a call to discipleship, a call to repentance and reconciliation with God and humankind. It also includes a call to call others. Like Paul of old, we should endeavor to win others by all means—any means that is legitimately effective. However, we especially recommend the small-group approach. Easy to adopt and adapt, it is known to be very effective in minimizing membership loss.
Preserve the souls that are won! We usually do all we can to win new members, but then we quickly leave them to seek more souls. The new converts are left to figure out how to grow in grace, and, lacking spiritual nurture, they stray from the fold. Thus, we gain many members but few converts. But member retention is also a part of the Gospel Commission. Spiritual nurture should include moral and material assistance in getting decent church buildings. Let us teach that in building a house of worship, we invite God’s presence as He dwelt with Israel of old.
Looking to the future, the Messiah left us an invaluable message in His series of questions to the Apostle Peter: “He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved when He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep’” (John 21:17, NKJV).
I believe, as ministers, we should spend quality time “feeding” our spiritual sheep, especially the “lambs,” the new members, by the spoken Word of God and Christlike lifestyle. If we feed our sheep properly, we will minimize the numbers that secularism or post-modernism persuade to join the swelling ranks of the so-called “unchurched.” If we feed our sheep properly, they will be less attracted by the powerful appeals of Pentecostalism. If we feed our sheep properly, they will not be intimidated by the return of witchcraft. The devil will not find it comfortable to go to church or visit them at home or trick them to keep a date with him in dark rooms or in some obscure hideout. Let our members know that a witch is controlled by the spirit of a fallen angel, but a loyal child of God is guided and guarded by the Spirit of God Himself.
Prepare yourselves for the great event—the return of Christ! It is easy for us to get so bogged down withthe Lord’s “business,” including preparing members for the kingdom, that we forget to prepare ourselves for that great event. Paul’s advice to young Timothy might be helpful: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Tim. 4:16, NKJV).
With these words, I wish you a fruitful advisory. And when you return to the place where you are serving, determine to make a positive difference.
Luka T. Daniel