How To Have A Successful Ministry!

By Dr. Ken Matto

(Mark 16:15 KJV) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Right before the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, He gave a command to His disciples and since it is recorded in the Scriptures, it is also a command for all believers until the end of time. The word “preach” in the Greek is the word for “proclaim or herald.” It does not necessarily mean that the Gospel will be given by pulpit preaching only. If that was the case, then we would have a second Noah’s flood because of all the watered down gospel coming from them. It means that we are to proclaim the gospel by any method we can, such as the written word or the spoken word.

One of the most ridiculous sayings I have ever heard has been attributed to Francis of Assisi. “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary use words.” The way that a person is converted is by the hearing of the word of God. (Rom 10:17 KJV) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Does it say “hearing by the word of God” or does it say “seeing by someone’s works.” If you think about it, according to that theory, even a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness can look like a Christian if they keep their mouth shut. The way people can tell us apart is the doctrine we teach and that is done by a verbal or written declaration of the Gospel. God gave us a book of words, in fact, there are 788,258 words in the King James Bible not 788,258 works. Satan has given quotes like the Assisi quote and Christians have allowed themselves to be guided by it so they won’t get into trouble.

(John 10:32-33 KJV) Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? {33} The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Jesus confronted the Jews and asked them for which good work do they want to stone Him for. Their answer was they won’t stone Him for a good work. Throughout the history of the church, Christians did not suffer persecution because of the good works they did but because of the doctrines they held. They held to true biblical doctrine and would not relent on their beliefs. How much do we know about Demas, other than that he was a traitor? How much do we know about the Apostle Paul, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and others who held to the true biblical faith. God has allowed the biographies of true Christians to remain with us to give us understanding of what living the true Christian life means.

In this article I want to offer seven biblical principles which can help you have a successful ministry. Keep in mind that success in ministry does not mean wealth and health. Those false ministries where the leaders make millions of dollars are fraudulent ministries and are rank failures according to the Scriptures. Do not pattern your ministry after the philosophy of these frauds or you will be destined to have an unsuccessful ministry. Let us attend to the principles.

Always Present Biblically Based Materials
(Josh 1:8 KJV) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Always source your teachings upon the Scriptures and not on the writings of any man. It is permissible to quote them if they are in line with what you are teaching but not to source your materials on them. The Lord told Joshua that he would have good success if he stayed upon the Scriptures. Notice how God put it. “Do according to all that is written therein:” That quashes the idea of the silent witness of works only. If words were good enough for God, then they are good enough for us. Joshua was promised good success if he observed all that was written in the Scriptures and we too would have good success in ministry if we base it on the Scriptures. (Josh 1:7 KJV) Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. In the previous verse, Joshua is told not to go to the right or the left, which means he was to stay strictly on the Scriptures. The reason for this is that God will stand behind what He has written which means the God of the universe stands with you when you trust His word and stand upon it and refuse to compromise. It is the word of God which converts a person and convicts a person, not the writings of men. When you use the Scriptures as the basis for your ministry, you will find that it will become a strong ministry.

Never Charge for Materials
(Mat 10:8 KJV) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

If God is leading you into ministry, He will also provide for your needs. Do you ever hear these big mega-bucks ministries begging and pleading for money to close their fiscal year in the black? That is because they do not trust the Lord for their income to sustain the ministry. They charge a set price for books, tapes, CD’s, etc. So all they will receive is what they ask for. If they would give those things away, the Lord will lay it on the heart of many to give above and beyond the cost of the item. They talk about trusting the Lord for everything, yet they are all set up as Christian stores. In my own ministry, I offer different pamphlets, calendars, tracts, etc. and I will not charge for them. I have sent materials to Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and many other places and have spent as much as $4.00 per letter. The Lord has always raised the money up for envelopes and postage. Just think, if the many ministries out there did not charge for their materials, there would be a lot more Christian materials in circulation. Many of them prohibit a person from duplicating their materials. I have a CD from In Touch Ministries and on it is written, “Unauthorized Duplication is Prohibited.” What is wrong with that picture? Are they fearful they will not get their $5.00 for a CD? I thought the Bible makes it clear that we are to send forth the Gospel and freely we get, freely we give. God knows that there are costs involved in the manufacturing of CDs and books and cassettes. Since when is this a barrier to God. You mean He is incapable of providing the funds needed for production costs? (Eph 3:20 KJV) Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, I think many ministries forget the immensity of our God and walk by sight instead of faith.

Never Compromise the Truth
(Acts 20:27 KJV) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

The Apostle Paul did not hesitate to bring the full counsel of God. He did not sugar coat the message. For 27 years, I have written against the charismatic movement and the modern versions of the Bible. I have received much opposition from proponents of these movements. To this day, I have not budged one inch from my opposition to them and that is because 27 years ago I saw the truth about them and today, that truth has not changed so I continue to oppose them. It is very easy and tempting to give in a little but when you give in, even the slightest amount, it means you have compromised and it opens the door for full apostasy. (2 Cor 5:20 KJV) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. What is the role of an ambassador? He or she represents their home government to another government. They receive materials to give to the other government and they present their political views to them. The ambassador does not change anything but presents his country’s position exactly as he receives them. It is the same with us, we do not change the views of Scripture or the meanings so we can appease someone. Our responsibility is to bring the unadulterated message of the Scriptures, whether it makes us popular or whether it makes us enemies. (Gal 4:16 KJV) Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? The Apostle Paul knew this and asked the Galatians am I your enemy because I tell you the truth? This is what we must do, we must bring the truth whether it stings or whether it brings comfort.

There is a ministry on line from Foundations Bible College which gives some very good advice concerning ministry:

"In these days of neutrality and compromise and apostasy, this is not a time for the change of vision, message, standard, or principle.  It is a time to simply forward the Faith." - FBC Radio - www.fbcradio.org

Avoid the Temptation of Politics
(Mat 6:24 KJV) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

One of the major temptations we Christians tend to fall into is the attempted amalgamating of Christianity and politics. Now our country was founded by men of whom the majority were Christians, not Deists as the unbelievers and unknowing Christians believe. It is not wrong for a person to be political. I myself am a political person always desiring to know what is going on. We have to live in this world until the Lord takes us home, so it is not wrong to know what is going on. What I am trying to convey is that when you do ministry, stay with the spiritual aspect of things and do not try to piggyback political points of view. I have heard many ministries in the past which have dealt with political issues and as you listened to them for a while, you start to realize that they almost think that the Republican party can get you to Heaven.

It is extremely possible to put so much political point of view in ministry that you actually lose the message of the Gospel. It almost gets to the point that voting is like receiving Christ as personal favor. The lines of distinction get blurred when you mix Christianity and politics. Faith comes by hearing the word of God, not political commentary. Our primary responsibility is to get the Gospel out to the people and politics has to be ancillary to the gospel message. As Matthew 6:24 states above, you cannot serve two masters and this equates to the fact that you cannot proclaim a mixed message. Either you are bringing a spiritual message or a political message. To mix politics with the Gospel message is actually a compromise and watering down of the Gospel. Anything which you add to the pure Gospel message will dilute it and you will see little or no fruit in your ministry.

Know Your Target Audience
(Acts 13:47 KJV) For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

The Apostle Paul was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. His first desire was to bring the Gospel to the Jews but since they had continually rejected the Gospel and the Apostle Paul, Paul then turned to the Gentiles so the message would now spread to the ends of the earth. You may want to have a specific goal in mind for your ministry. There are ministries out there which are geared toward specific groups such as Roman Catholics which has about one billion adherents. There are groups geared toward the Islamic world which has one billion adherents and growing. Then there are ministries to smaller groups such as the New Age, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus, and such. The one advantage about having a specific target group is that you are able to study within their teachings and gain more knowledge and then make the comparisons between their teachings and biblical Christianity. Let us say you got saved out of Roman Catholicism. You already have a either a basic or good understanding of its doctrines. Another advantage of having a ministry with a specific target group is that you will be able to do general evangelism while maintaining ministry geared toward your group.

Start Out Small
(Zec 4:10 KJV) For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.

When starting your ministry, you want to start out small. Avoid the temptation of trying to start big because it will overwhelm you. You may want to start a website, in fact, you should have one so people can go to your site and read the materials you have to offer and get to know you a little better. When I started in ministry, there was no internet. What I did was I took my phone book and got a list of all the churches in my area and a few from outside my area. This was back in 1989 when I was geared toward singles ministry. I had purchased a Smith-Corona word processor and created a six page missive. I then took it to a printer who made me about 90 copies which I sent out to about 90 churches. I received some response to the letter and most of it was positive and a few negative. Then following that ministry I made myself available for pulpit fill-in and general preaching. Then in 1996 I made my first attempt at a website and it was only two megabytes gradually increasing to six. Then finally in November 1997 I started the Scion of Zion Internet Ministry website and it has been the center of my ministry for the past 16 years. Here’s the kicker! During the 1990’s I made application to three mission organizations but was rejected by all three of them. God knew why because in 2003 I became disabled and would not have been able to continue. One place I made application was for ministry in the Yukon. This past month (November 2013) my ministry website was viewed in 170 countries. The top seven countries which viewed it was USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Ukraine, India, and China. If I had gone to the Yukon, how would I have been able to minister in the Ukraine, China, and India? Do you see the principle? A website may be a small thing but you will never know the impact around the world that your ministry will be having. Always keep in mind that behind every computer is a person who is either on their way to Heaven in Christ or on their way to hell. So don’t be afraid to start small and don’t feel that starting small has no impact. The Lord will guide that area.

Plan for Opposition
(Mat 12:14 KJV) Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

If there is one thing you can expect in ministry, it is opposition. As a student of the Scriptures, every true Gospel preacher in the Bible faced opposition. Jesus had opposition from the Scribes and Pharisees. Paul had opposition from the Jews and the Gentile idolaters. John the Baptist had opposition from Herodias. There are always going to be those who will oppose what you are doing. One of the sad things is that much of it will come from Christians themselves. If you expect opposition and it comes, you will be ready to answer your detractors. Just like Sanballat and Tobiah tried to derail Nehemiah in the rebuilding of the wall, there will be those who will try to derail you. Look beyond it. When you give people the truth and they reject it, it is their problem, not yours. When I receive opposition to any of my articles, I respond only once to those who have their own agenda or want to believe what they want to believe. Those who are truly seeking, I will continue to dialogue with them. Do not waste time on those who are trying to convert you. Just recently a man notified me that Christ has returned and is in some part of the world and I need to look at the videos which teach this. Needless to say, I will not waste my time on such tommyrot. You will be able to discern between those who are truly seeking and those who have their own agenda. Learn to severely limit your discussions or else you will do nothing else but debate thus wasting precious study time. The way to diffuse opposition is with the truth, whether they accept it or not.

Summary
These seven basic principles will help you start and maintain a successful ministry. Remember we must do ministry God’s way and not the way of the world. Ministry is not a business because business concerns itself with financial profit but ministry concerns itself with spiritual profit. As you continue to go on in ministry, the Lord will show you other ways to prosper in ministry, that is, other ways to help your ministry grow and continue as an uncompromising ministry. (Psa 29:11 KJV) The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

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