In the New Testament every believer was seen as a minister. Those called to the five-fold gifts were given to equip the members to do the work of the ministry (Eph 4:11-12). Since every member in the body of Christ is to be a minister there must be equipping and developing of those ministers. Equipping aspect takes place by virtue of God’s grace in those five gifts; apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors, and teachers. These gifts equip others by virtue of who they are and not necessarily what they do. However, with equipping there is also a need to develop individuals. The one desiring to be developed can take steps to enhance their growth.
There is no better training ground than the local church. It is here where every member can find his or her place of service. It is a “nursery” for developing young gifts. It serves as the school of leadership for those in which Christ has given responsibilities.
As one takes on responsibilities he learns to identify his gift and look for opportunities that fit. A willingness to serve regardless of the area, however, is paramount to developing one in ministry. It is in these tasks that one develops. There are many ministry tasks in the church that may or may not be within a person’s particular gifting or calling, but they are important, nevertheless, to developing faithfulness in the disciple.
There are some practical steps you can take to develop in ministry.
1. Acknowledge and accept your placement – Many people are always looking toward the future for ministry while failing to recognize the place in which they reside. Accept where God has placed you in the local church to develop. Also acknowledge and accept your spiritual gifts as God has given them to you. Bloom where you are planted.
2. Submit to the vision of where you are planted – Apply yourself to support the vision of the church where you are planted. Lay down your personal agenda and become consumed with developing under someone else. Accept ministry tasks when the leaders ask you. Go through the foundation classes and training to become involved in your church. Pray for the leadership and support them with your whole heart.
3. Commit to spiritual formations in your life – Allow adverse situations to develop and grow you. Learn through these times. Apply yourself to character developing and the development of your inner-life in Christ. Learn the power of God’s presence through prayer and fasting. Learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and establish a regular time in the Word of God.
4. Ask for help with ministry skills – Be willing to be mentored. Don’t expect anyone to give you all his time, but determine what you can receive from those around you. Write out where you see they can help you and ask for that help. Seek input from others on how you can develop and improve your people skills, communication skills, and leadership skills. Apply your self to reading and studying in the areas in which you need development the most. Develop further in your gifts. Many times in this process you will discover a spiritual father who will become paramount to your journey in Christ. Don’t look for someone of an important status, but rather, discover who God has placed in your life who would be there in times of trouble.
5. Seek fruit that will remain – At the end of your life, what will matter the most are the people in whom you have invested your life. Determine now that you will disciple others into what you are learning. Your own ministry development is in direct proportion to the people whom you have helped in their ministry. When you help enough people reach their potential, your leadership influence will have grown exponentially. The true test of a mature disciple is when those he has discipled are making disciples. That is fruit that will remain.