In nearly 18 years of ministry, God has taught me some invaluable lessons. Of all the lessons, it is easy to select the most important. Simply stated: In order to have success in ministry, a minister must be absolutely tethered to the Word of God. A passion for the Word of God is a must for a minister. Every aspect of the ministry must flow from the Scripture. As intuitive as it seems, it is not often easy. In fact, it can be very difficult for pastors. How is this possible one might ask? After all the pastor is constantly preparing to preach or teach. They get paid to study the Bible. In order to understand the dilemma that faces a pastor it is helpful to consider the ministry as a pitcher of water. As a pastor preaches, teaches, or does pastoral ministry he pours out the liquid of the Word from that which is on his heart. If there are no steps taken to replenish that liquid, then eventually the pitcher will run dry. This leads to ministering out of one’s on strength and ability and from there it is only a short step to exhaustion, burn out, or moral failure. Thus is it is necessary to stoke the devotional fires of the minister’s heart with a consistent in flow of God’s Word. Here are three practical ways that you can do that.
- Use a Bible reading plan for your devotional reading. This will keep you moving through various sections of scripture. Don’t treat this a sermon preparation tool. A sermon may grow from a reading, but this is to feed and nourish your soul. Read with an eye towards application (James 1:22-25). Many plans are available by using a quick search online. One can also use the YouVersion Bible app and its many plans.
- Discipline yourself to memorize scripture (Psalm 119:11). The verses that I have committed to memory have been the one’s that God has called to mind at precisely the moment that I needed it most, whether as a rebuke, an exhortation, a word of comfort, or encouragement.
- Read authors who are thirst inducing. I have a list of authors whose works I read regularly, not because I always agree with their viewpoints, but because they always drive me back to my Bible.