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How to Be Successful in Ministry -13 Principles

I want to share with you 13 principles that have helped me immensely in ministry. Some of these I was given by others who are more experienced in ministry and wiser than I. Others, I have gleaned from books read and still a few I have come up with through my experience.

I hope you will find some wisdom in these principles and a few things you can apply to your ministry context this year.


1. Be

Focus on being a man of God over doing ministry. If I can become who God wants me to become, the doing will take care of its self!

2. Be Selfish

Every sermon, every teaching opportunity, every time I open God’s Word it should be about me before it’s about others.

3. Be Together

Try to do as many things as possible in ministry with others. Understand that much of discipleship happens outside of the pulpit during the regular stuff of life.

4. Be Happy

In general try to promote, encourage and be a positive influence to those I minister to.

5. Be Liberal

Allow those in my church to practice their own spiritual gifts without my overbearing control. Give guidance and counsel where needed but also give enough freedom to allow people to grow into their own ministries.

6. Be Home

Understand that I must minister to my family and be at home often. I can’t and won’t spend every waking minute at church, my family needs me!

7. Be Reproducible

Try to do everything in a way that can be reproduced and multiplied. That means utilizing technologies like youtube, podcasts and blogging to make as much of my ministry as possible available and reproducible to as many people as possible.

8. Be Approachable

I’m not some super holy saint that has to ride around in a plexiglass box, Jesus let people come near him, to touch him, to wash his feet with their tears. I want people around me to know that they can come to me, I will listen to them, I will pray with them, I will help them as I can.

9. Be Rested

Ministry is never ending. I need to establish healthy routines of work and rest. I can serve others better when I am rested.

10. Be a Learner

Seminary wasn’t enough, if I’m not stretching my mind with new books and striving to better understand God’s Word and the culture around me then I will quickly become ineffective in ministry.

11. Be Faithful

Stick with it no matter what. Don’t give up just because it’s hard. Do the right thing even if it’s the hard thing and let God take care of the results.

12. Be Healthy

There’s no good excuse to throw away my health as a “sacrifice” for ministry. I choose to be an example to my church and not to fill my body with junk, to eat in moderation and to get regular exercise.

13. Be Holy

Maybe this goes without saying, but I’m afraid not to say it! I choose purity, integrity and honesty even in those areas of my life where others can not see.

Questions: What principle hits home for you? What principles could you add to this list?

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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children!

My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • Caleb, I absolutely LOVE this! I am going to reblog it. Thank you for allowing God to use you. Ever since I met you and your family God has used you to minister to me. Thank YOU, Yahweh, for using Caleb to minister to my mind, body, soul, and spirit!

    • You’re so welcome Kimberly! Those principles have been a lot of help to me but I’d never really written it down in a list like this. I thought it might be helpful to others to have it in written form.

      Blessings to you and your family in 2015!

  • Pingback: How to Be Spiritually Successful | A Wife's Reflections Blog()

  • Excellent post. Caleb, I hope you and your family are doing good. I pray for you constantly that God will continue to use you and your family to minister to others the saving power of Christ. Continue the work for Him.

    • Thank you Bernard, we really appreciate your prayers!

  • Fantastic principles here. Thanks for sharing these, Caleb. Sharp, short but very accurate values to prioritise. This will be a post I can return to every so often for a quick reminder of what’s important. Great post.

    • Thanks for the encouragement Micah. These are principles that I find myself needing to return to often. If I don’t I begin to drift away from them.

  • As I read through this list, (3 times) I am thinking it is a valuable list to copy to take a check on my life. Thanks Caleb, once again you write to grow us.

    • Wow, you read it 3 times! That’s great. I tried to keep it pretty succinct to make it easy to read through. I hope it’s a blessing to you.

  • Caleb,
    Great list…what a difference if we could really begin with #1 because that is where it all begins..of course, I would substitute “woman” for “man” …. I really love the way you termed “be selfish”…nice twist…yes, before we ever teach, we need to let God first teach us and show us what we need to change about ourselves…Thank you.

    • Being selfish in my consumption of Scripture is really the only way I can keep myself spiritually growing and healthy so that I can be ready to serve and teach others.

  • I echo your number 2, although I think the other side of the coin is that this is really humility. It’s about allowing God’s word to change my sinfulness before I apply it to others. Great list.

    • Of course you’re right Loren! I just thought “Be Selfish” was a more memorable way to put it! 😉

  • Great list! “Be home” is so essential. The first people we should spend time with or be around is our family. We need to lead and be around them a significant amount of time.

    • I also find that when I have a solid family and home to come back to I am much more likely to do well outside of the home.

  • I like your list. I’d add Be Teachable. We all need to be open to becoming more of what He wants for us and sometimes we learn that through others, sometimes the word, sometimes our spouse, sometimes circumstances. And sometimes it’s really hard.

    Praying for you all today!