Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:15-16
So much of ministry is about consistently doing the same thing. For thirty-six years now I have felt the burden and daily call of such ministry upon my heart. I was sixteen when I "felt" the definite nudge of God to consider a life of vocational service to Christ's church. And the pastoral epistles have always had special encouragement for me from my youth onward.
Christian discipleship and character must always be the mark of the man of God. He must be mature. Timothy was told to set an example to all believers in a life of Christlike consistency of words, lifestyle, love, faith, and purity (1 Timothy 4:12). And beyond the baseline of character is a sincere and extreme commitment to scripture. Ministers must be men of character as well as men of the Word! Scripture must be read, preached, and taught both in the assembly and with individual ministry. It is the only source of ministry hope, encouragement, and doctrine.
How does this happen? Church leaders must be immersed in proper doctrine and must smell and taste of holy living. It is a lifestyle. Being in the Bible is the first practice each morning, and the last thought before sleep, and must saturate my day in between. Every day I wake up and repeat that important practice in order to immerse myself in the things of God. That's how ministry becomes rewarding, because only then do I stand a chance of moving beyond my sinful motivations into the realm of holiness. It is all about a daily scriptural, ethical consistency. That's the number one requirement for successful ministry.