Integrity in Ministerial motives

Ms. Joyce R. Aryee

By Ms. Joyce R. Aryee

“To the elders among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willing, not for dishonest fain but eagerly; nor as lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade over others” – 1 Peter 5:1-4.

Challenge Enterprises of Ghana organized a National Pastors’ and Christian Leaders Conference 2010 themed “HOLDING FORTH THE BANNER OF MINISTERIAL INTEGRITY” in Accra and Kumasi from 30th August – 3rd September 2010 and 6th – 10th September, 2010 respectively. The speakers included Dr. Charles C. Bing – Grace Life Ministries, USA, Bro. Gbile Akanni – Living Seed Ministries, Nigeria, Most Rev. Dr. Aboagye Mensah – Former Presiding Bishop, the Methodist Church, Ghana. In the next couple of weeks, we will be publishing the notes of the conference.  We trust they will be a blessing to you. Enjoy.

Integrity In Ministerial Calling  By Dr. Charles C. Bing – Founder and Director of Gracelife Ministries, USA.
Introduction
Know why you are in the ministry.

When we think about ministry from God’s perspective, we are talking about His call.  But from our perspective, we accepted that call and that is why we are in ministry today.  But why are you in ministry?

Motives have a lot to do with ministry.  Without the right motives, a Christian leader can easily be seduced by the temptation of money, power, or immorality.  Without the right motives, a Christian leader can also become overly proud or overly discouraged.

In last week’s article, we examined Peter’s call to ministry.  I would like to begin with allowing an older and more seasoned Peter to speak to us about motives for the pastorate. 1 Peter 5:1-4 Peter says,  “To the elders among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willing, not for dishonest fain but eagerly; nor as lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade over others.

Here Peter tells the elders (which I think is the same function as pastors) that they should not Shepherd God’ flock;
1.    by compulsion
2.    for dishonest gain
3.    or for the power they can assert over others.

The word “compulsion” means by force or by obligation.  No one should ever force someone into ministry.  You might wonder how that could be possible, but I imagine that a man or woman could commit to ministry to meet expectations of another person, or their church, or denomination.  Perhaps the position offered to them was too appealing to refuse.  It is also possible that the compulsion could be from within.  I think that some people may enter the ministry because of guilt over their past, or because they have an urge to achieve.  The important thing here is not the source of the compulsion, but that it is not a motive in any way.  Our previous look at Peter’s life showed us the supreme motivation for ministry is our love for God and His people.

Dishonest gain (also translated “filthy lucre” or “shameful gain”) is also an unworthy motive.  This probably was money in mind first, but a person could also become a minister because it gives him access to power or privilege.  There is nothing wrong with the money we receive as support or compensation for our labor in the ministry.  It is only “dishonest” money that Peter rejects.  Positions of leadership are often entrusted with financial responsibilities, and these can easily be abused.  When I see so many preachers on the television asking for money, I ask many about their motives.  Charlatans have always plagued God’s work.  We see it as early as the prophet Balaam.  He was a prophet only for profit.  We will talk about integrity in finances in another message – Hebrews 22.

Peter’s third false motive is indicated by his caution not to be lords over God’s flock, the church.  The word he uses means to bring people into subjection, bring them under your power, or become a master over them.  God’s people have only one Master, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Much of the world operates under a perpetual struggle for power of one group of people, tribe, or nation over another.  Power over people is what compels a lot of political parties or politicians, even religious denominations.  In contrast, the church is not a place to build your own kingdom, but God’s kingdom.  Peter has a clever reminder that our power is temporary and illusory, for he reminds us that the Chief Shepherd will one day appear, implying that we must answer to Him.

These wise words of Peter should cause us to examine our hearts to see why we are in ministry.  Are you serving God under some compulsion other than a pure love for Him?  Are you seeking to use the ministry dishonestly to gain financially at the expense of others?  Are you building your own kingdom and power base, or preparing for Christ’s kingdom that is coming?  You must know why you are in the ministry, and you must have the right motivation.

I.    Know why you are in the ministry

II.    Determine to be open and honest – 2 Cor. 4:1-2
III.    Learn to deal with unresponsiveness – 2 Cor. 4:3-4
IV.    Determine to preach Jesus Christ – 2 Cor. 4:5-6

Conclusion

Sometimes we get discouraged in ministry because we do not see results.  How will you handle that discouragement?  The integrity of your motives will guide you.  If you are in the ministry for impure motives of power, money, or fame, then you will probably handle discouragement by using dishonest means to obtain your end.  However, if you are in ministry to lovingly serve God and His people, you will be open and honest in all you do and say.  You will direct people’s attention to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Only Jesus has the power to penetrate the satanic veil and darkness.

Let us not preach ourselves; let us preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The greatest thing about preaching the gospel is the gospel, and the preaching.

Stay Blessed

INVITATION TO PRAYER RALLY

We are pleased to invite you to our prayer rally under the theme “Make Room In Your Heart for Jesus.”  The speaker is the Very Rev. M. A. Bossman, the General Director – Board of Ministries, the Methodist Church Ghana.

Other details of the programme are:
Date:        Saturday – November 20, 2010
Time:    8:30am
Venue:    Offices of Salt and Light Ministries, Abelemkpe near Sollatek
Song Ministration:    The Harmonious Chorale
Bring your friends and family.  Together let’s raise our voices in hymns and prayer. Speaker: Very Rev. M. A. Bossman.  Salt and Light Ministries

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