How To Thrive As A Christian Ministry Worker

Get Good Rest

Ministry is tiring (mentally, emotionally, relationally), and we need regular times to recharge and be refreshed!

I aim for:

  • at least 1 day a week (sometimes 1.5 or 2!)
  • a few days every few months
  • getting 8 hours of sleep a night (so if I’m out late for ministry, I’ll start later the next morning)

Keep your friends

Interacting with lots of different people in ministry isn’t a replacement for friends… friends will care for you, refresh you, help you loosen up & keep you accountable!

Part of my off-day/s are reserved for Skyping friends back in Australia, or travelling to visit friends with kids here in Singapore. I meet them whether I’m in a good mood or stressed, excited or disappointed in ministry, and it’s great to be able to speak openly to them and then pray for each other.

Grow in love & devotion to Jesus

Although you’re a gospel worker, first and foremost you’re a Christian, whose primary relationship is with Jesus Christ!

I read the Bible regularly for my own nourishment, not just in order to teach others. It helps to go through a gospel account, to see Jesus up close and personal, and marvel at His power, wisdom, compassion, love, authority etc. I spend time thinking about all that He’s done for me (& so many others), and how undeserving I am, and this grows my love for Him.

Long for the new creation

It’s easy to get engrossed in life & ministry in the here and now, and always long for it to be more comfortable. But ministry isn’t comfortable, it involves hardship & suffering, and so we’ll only give ourselves to it fully if we know that we have the perfect new creation to look forward to!

Keep reading your Bible, esp the NT! You can’t go far without the biblical authors constantly pushing us to take a forward view, to wait eagerly & long for Jesus’ appearing! As I immerse myself in the Scriptures, particularly Paul’s letters, in ministry I’m so very blessed to keep having my own gaze shifted far into the future, rather than the immediate future.

Remember God’s sovereignty

This truth keeps you grounded when things don’t go smoothly or to plan, and is a tonic against discouragement, as God is powerful to work all things (even wicked things) for His good purposes!

I find it helpful to have Bible verses about God’s sovereignty committed to memory, so that in the flurry & stress of ministry, I can stop and remind myself of this wonderful truth about God, which then helps calm my anxious mind and heart. Romans 8:28-30; Genesis 50:20; 1 Corinthians 3:5-9; Ephesians 1:11.

Rejoice in God’s grace

In the world, grace doesn’t reign, and we sometimes forget that even in ministry, and seek to prove ourselves by our goodness or our performance. But the truth is that we begin by grace, stay and serve by grace, and will remain by grace. And rejoicing in that truth will keep us safe till the end!

I’ve been a slow learner in the school of grace, but thankfully it’s been sinking in more over the recent years. Things that have helped are: praying that I’ll have the attitude of the tax collector, not Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14), interacting with people who really know & love grace, reading books like “Perfect Sinners” and “Ministry under the Microscope”.

Depend on God

It’s easy in ministry to be deceived that our competence comes from ourselves, & our efforts in ministry, so we need big reminders that we’re entirely dependent on God and so is the ministry we get to partner Him in!

I begin and end each day in prayer, making sure that I’m praying for a wide range of things: my own godliness, the people I’m ministering to, my co-workers in ministry, my own personal evangelism, world mission, my church. I’ve been using the app “PrayerMate” for a couple of years now and it’s really helped me be more regular in praying and less distracted in praying!

By Sonja Graml | Nov 2019