Do you want to make an impact as a ministry leader? We all do, don't we?
That's a big reason why we are serving in ministry. We want to know that our time, energy and efforts are making a difference.
Recently, I was reading Paul's ministry advice to Timothy. One specific verse caught my attention. Paul shares with Timothy 4 keys to making an impact. And it's found in 4 words in the verse. Check it out.
"As for you, always BE sober-minded, ENDURE suffering, DO the work of an evangelist, FULFILL your ministry."
2 Timothy 4:5
Notice that the first key is to BE. Paul emphasizes BEING before DOING. Making an impact starts with leading yourself well.
If you will be who you are supposed to be, you will do what you are supposed to do.
Leaders who make an impact lead from the inside out.
This means walking with God and having a growing relationship with Him.
This means guarding your heart against lust, bitterness, resentment, envy and other spiritual diseases that can take you down.
Are you like me? When you fly on an airplane, do you zone out when they start explaining all the pre-flight safety instructions? I mean, I know how to buckle my seat belt. But there is one part of the instructions that always catches my attention.
It's when they talk about the cabin pressure dropping. They explain that when the cabin pressure drops, air masks will drop from above you. They go on to explain that if you are traveling with a child, you should first put the mask on yourself before trying to help the child.
Why do they say this? Because you can't help the child, if you pass out from lack of oxygen.
This is what Paul is talking about when he says to BE. If you are going to impact others with the life-giving message of Jesus, you must first be spiritually healthy yourself. As you walk with Jesus and are filled with His life-giving presence, you will be empowered to impact those around you.
Here's what Paul said to Timothy in an earlier passage.
"Keep a close watch ON YOURSELF and on the teaching. Persist in this for by so doing you will save yourself and your hearers."
1 Timothy 4:16
Your impact will come as an overflow of being who God has called you to be.
The next key Paul mentions is found in the word ENDURE.
Enduring is about lasting in ministry. You see significant impact doesn't happen overnight. It takes time.
"Those who make a significant impact in ministry are those who last in ministry."
The way you last in ministry is first being who you are supposed to be, like we talked about above. And then it's finding a pace that you can sustain for the distance. You see, ministry is not a sprint, it's a marathon.
Significant impact is going to be the compound effect of faithfully serving and investing in people for not just a year or two, but for decades.
Enduring means not quitting. Enduring means being faithful. Enduring means keeping your eyes on the finish line. Enduring means continuing even when you are down, discouraged or depressed.
The third key Paul talks about is found in the word DO. And what does it say we should be doing if we want to make an impact? The work of an evangelist.
The most important thing we do is share the Gospel with people. It's the Gospel that impacts people's lives for eternity.
You can do a lot of things in ministry. But if you want to make a big impact, then make sharing the Gospel your priority. Make it the main thing you DO.
The fourth and final key word Paul shares is FULFILL. Fulfill what? He says to fulfill your ministry. See it? YOUR ministry.
All of us have a tendency to look at other people's ministry, don't we? Comparing our ministry to someone else's. Envying someone else's ministry. Wishing we could have someone else's ministry.
When we compare our ministry to other people's ministry, it has two affects. It brings pride if we think our ministry is making a bigger impact than someone else's. Or it brings discouragement if you think your ministry is making less of an impact than someone else's.
"God wants to use YOU to make an impact - not your version of someone else."
God has a unique ministry just for you. You are called to run in your lane, not someone elses. God has called you to finish your course. He wants to use you to make a unique impact.
So there you have it. The 4 keys to making a big impact.
BE who you are suppose to be.
ENDURE in your ministry. Last. Go the distance.
DO the work of sharing the Gospel.
FULFILL the unique calling God has on your life.
Do these 4 things and you'll make an impact, the magnitude of which you won't fully realize until you're in heaven.