Ministry to people in need may seem intimidating at first, due to the magnitude of their need and also to God’s high standards. Don’t let that stop you! Only certain aspects require extra training. Besides, a healthy realization of our own inadequacy makes us depend on God more. For the most part, all that’s needed is a pure heart and readiness to reach out to people who need help. Nonetheless, you have to be adequately equipped to withstand the tests that will accompany your new mission. Just know that God is with you in this.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  Galatians 5:13 ESV

Ministry Fundamentals: Love

No matter what field of endeavor you’re in, perfecting the fundamentals is essential for success. However, Christian ministry to people in need is somewhat different. While it’s still important to do our tasks well, relationships are the keyword here—more than the actual need. Love is the #1 task and relationships are the fundamentals that we have to perfect. Listen to how Paul put it.Ministry to People in Need - Love

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2-3 ESV

God sets the top priority on love in all that He does. Naturally, the Lord’s desire is for us to also set loving others in first place, over any work that we are doing for them. Now watch this counter play of the Enemy called distraction. Sadly, it is common place how often we shift our focus from the Lord to the results we are trying to get for Him.

Because God loves us, He doesn’t want us to lose His peace (or His joy) while we serve Him. It’s both good for us and for the people we serve. Loss of peace always pushes love out of our hearts, making us stressed and self-centered. Was Jesus ever anxious about the work and how it was going? No, the ones who were worried were the disciples (or learners). That’s us! Don’t stress over the work. The fact is that only love truly ministers to others.

Three Main Relationships to Safeguard

Without a doubt, one of the best methods for growing a genuinely loving heart is through Christian ministry. We can’t grow love in a vacuum. Our love is tested, proven and grown in close relationships with others. God has highlighted three main relationships that He wants to help us build as we seek to be of use. The three relationships are the people we aid, our fellow servants and God Himself. Don’t overlook any one of these three!

BONUS: Go now to receive a totally free download, “Preparing for Ministry (39-page eBook),” at our website for salvation questions, new life in the Spirit and Last Days concerns.

The People We Serve

The love to grow: Love as compassion.
The test of love: Are you kind?

Sometimes the Lord gives us feelings of strong affection or compassion for other people. They’re always welcome, but the problem is that they don’t last. We simply can’t build a lifetime of ministry based on changeable emotions. Fortunately, God doesn’t require us to feel love, but to actually do what love does. There are no feelings mentioned in this famous passage describing love.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

We are called to love our neighbors and that certainly means loving those that we seek to serve. I have always found kindness to be the key. When you are being kind to them, they’ll feel the love and be appreciative as a result—even if you have nothing else to give them. Here are two great methods for growing love in your service:

  • Continually cleanse yourself from anger, worry and all negative emotions. Recognizing your need for God to help you with this will keep you humble and in prayer
  • Concentrate on compassion and kindness. You can recover compassion by focusing on their suffering. You recover kindness by focusing on how Jesus in His kindness suffered for you.

Fellow Believers Working with You

The love to grow: Love as acceptance.
The test of love: Are you forgiving?

When we are ministering, usually it is with fellow believers at our side. This is by God’s design so that we can grow relationships with them too. However, such close contact can result in “friction burns.” This too is by God’s design! Of course, He isn’t the one causing the problems, but He is serious about training us to work through them His way.

Being insulted by or becoming offended with a co-worker is never pleasant. But the truth is that if we cannot let it go and give them grace, we are the one who is desperately in need of change and growth! Forgiving fellow workers is undoubtedly harder than forgiving the people we serve. That’s because we know our co-worker to be a Christian and we expect them to behave like one.

Funny, how easy it is for us to lose sight of our own failure to be like Jesus. Jesus, in working with us, has already forgiven us for everything that doesn’t match up with Him. All He asks is that we forgive others in the same remarkable way. Next time someone offends you, drag your heart to the cross (like God and Jesus both did) and do what genuine love calls for – forgive.

Our Invisible Leader

The love to grow: Love as obedience.
The test of love: Are you trusting?

We aren’t able to see our Shepherd with plain sight, like we could a manager on the job. The disciples, on the other hand, could see and speak to Jesus on a daily basis. Thus, they could make decisions based on actual, physical encounters with Him. That’s better right? Not according to Jesus. He’s the One who went away so that we could all have Him living inside of us by His Spirit. In His eyes it’s better that we don’t see Him with ours. This makes us dependent on faith and prayer. How does He compensate for this?Incentives - Love of Jesus

If we truly want to find Him and know His will, God promises that He will help us with that. This makes ministering to others such an awesome method for growing a true love for Jesus. Our need for His help, His guidance and His mercy is so great! How can we do it His way without finding His way of working through us and leading us?

If we want results, we have to seek Him and work at trusting Him enough to follow Him. This is essential because if we want to love Him, we must learn to obey Him. He calls obedience love (John 14:15). We have three main ways in which our obedience to Him is enabled and tested.

1) His Word

Do you trust Him enough to obey His Word and live within its boundaries? His Word gives positive general directions and clearly marks out the moral boundaries we are to live within. Serving Him means bringing all of our ways into obedience to His Word.

2) His Spirit

Do you trust Him enough to allow His Spirit to lift, lead and guide you? The Lord will give you a sense of the next right thing to be done. That may not fit into your plans, but it does His. The Holy Spirit guides us by His peace. If we take the step He is pointing to there is peace. If we keep love and trust in our hearts there is peace. That’s our “go” signal!

3) Earthly Authorities

Do you trust Him enough to obey the ones He has placed over you? We are not to blindly follow people who are asking something immoral or illegal of us, but most Christian leaders operate within the wide boundaries of the law. Their way of going at things may not be your way, it may not even be God’s best way, but we are still meant to give them the best measure of service and respect that we can.

The Greenhouse Effect

The love for the people we serve, the ones we serve with, and for God grow by a natural grace when the circumstances are right. They never stay right for very long. So, brace yourself and be ready to reinvigorate your kindness, forgiveness and submissiveness when work troubles and troublesome people get in the way. Ministry to people in need is a greenhouse for growing love. May your heart thrive in it!

BONUS: Go now to receive a totally free download, “Preparing for Ministry (39-page eBook),” at our website for salvation questions, new life in the Spirit and Last Days concerns.

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About the Author: Steve Evans

Steve EvansFor over a decade Steve Evans and Healing Streams have been helping people recover inner peace and freedom. Through Forerunners4Him he has been showing how we can be saved for heaven and teaching the way to live a Spirit filled life on earth. Go now to receive a completely free primer, Getting to Heaven and/or an introduction to Living in the Spirit at WordPress Blank Filler for Bottom of AboutAuthor