In recent times, we have seen more people falling away from ministry than ever before. It is reported over 1600 pastors/ministry leaders leave, or are forced out of ministry each month and over 7000 churches close a year. People are discouraged, disillusioned, burned-out, experiencing financial problems, family breakups and moral failure. Is this the divine plan of God? Or are there biblical principles which can insulate us from the failure of ministry? Ministry is a calling and a life-long pursuit not a vocation and there is no earthly retirement plan. Your ministry is only as strong as you are. Paul the Apostle told his protégé Timothy, “So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ, pass on what you have heard from me to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain (2 Tim 2:2-7, The Message Bible).” The following biblical principles will help establish a ministry that is built to last!
ATTACK OR DISTRACTION
Initially, you need to ascertain if the present situation is an attack against your destiny or a distraction? An attack is designed to destroy you. A distraction is a diversion or interruption.An attack has the potential to thwart your destiny and forward progress, a distraction is impotent and is merely a disturbance. Nehemiah (Nehemiah 6:9) responded to Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab’s distraction by stating, “I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down.” He responded to their attack by, “I prayed, ‘Give me strength.’” In like fashion, you respond to a distraction by standing your ground and not changing your position. You respond to an attack by soliciting God’s help, staying connected to the house of God and by connecting with a spirit-filled believer. You cannot overcome an attack alone.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUTHORITY
You must irrefutably recognize you have power! We are powerless in our own strength but invincible in God’s strength. Luke 10:19 (AMP) says, “Listen carefully: I have given you authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you...” Realizing this principle will save you some unnecessary wounds because you will no longer fight battles in your own strength.
MAINTAIN YOUR PROPHETIC POSTURE
The ministry of the prophet is an undercurrent. An undercurrent is an underlying feeling or influence, especially one that is contrary to the prevailing atmosphere. You will generally be going against the grain because prophets always live above the fray of public opinion. The prophets of old were opposing the current socio-economic and religious climate. Jesus, the prophet, in his day resisted the religious rhetoric of the Sadducees and Pharisees. What we declare cannot be driven by our emotions or personality.
Persecution is inevitable and expected in the life of a believer! It should not be a surprise or catch you off guard. He has promised you in His word, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord... (Isaiah 5:17 NKJV)." Persecution and affliction are mechanisms God uses to produce growth, stability, and endurance. Exodus 1:12 (NKJV) says, " But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew..."
BE SKILLED IN THE SCRIPTURES
Be fully acquainted with and skilled in applying the Word of God! This is our greatest and most potent weapon. Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) reminds us, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." 2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV) says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” As you prophesy remember nothing you speak will go against the word of God. 2 Peter 1:20-21(NKJV) says, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”