Yes, God desires that His ministers will affect others positively and make the world a better place. Every minister’s presence in the world must be divine presents to the people.
A true minister of the gospel must so live that at his death, the devil will throw a thanksgiving party. You must be a contributor, not a mere consumer. Furthermore, there had been two schools of thought concerning the kind and measure of impact that ministers are called to make.
The first school of thought harped on the need to do good works, feed the hungry, take care of the needy, and provide good housing, economic power, jobs and good things of this life for people by preaching and practicing the social gospel.
The second school of thought believes that ministers must preach the gospel of salvation from sin, disciple people, get them holy, ready for heaven and be a true salt and light in this world. This controversy has raged on for the last several decades and is much more pronounced in the last several years.
I believe it’s time we discover a true balance of how to make timeless impact in modern ministry.
A. Biblical Foundation
– Heb. 11:4; Matt. 26:13; 2 Peter 1:15; Joshua 24:31 God-called ministers are agents of change; co-workers with God to affect people positively. Ministers are to bring the hand, power and mercy of God to bear upon the people.
It is a sign of God’s favour when godly ministers abound.
✓ Ministers must make indelible impact with their ministry.
✓ Ministers must bring transformation to the lives of people.
✓ The impact of ministers must be in-erasable in time.
✓ Your ministry must endure and outlive you.
✓ Your impact can be post-humus and outlive you.
✓ What you live in people is more impacting than what you leave for people.
✓ What you donate is more crucial than what you accumulate.
✓ Your legacy is much more durable than your inheritance.
The ministry of John Wesley and George Whitefield were good examples of timeless and time-bound impact. They were contemporaries. George Whitefield was more of a fiery orator than John Wesley. While Wesley was methodical, meticulous, planted churches, organized meetings, wrote books, Whitefield was carefree but popular.
Today, the ministry and impact of Whitefield is all but forgotten while posthumous impact still follows Wesley! B.Timeless and Time-bound Impact – 2 Cor. 3:5-6; Heb. 11:24-26. Because we are carnal, live in the flesh, we understood impact with carnal reasoning.
We view impact with physical eyes; material results and properties. However, here are characteristics of the two:
▪ Getting people saved and know the Lord.
▪ Discipline and growing in the Lord
▪ Disseminating God’s truth fearlessly.
▪ Raising leaders for the Lord.
▪ Fulfilling your spiritual calling.
▪ Using your gift and calling for heaven.
▪ Lifestyle of transparent holiness
▪ Allowing gifts and ministries to thrive
.The result is that your ministry will outlive and outlast you.
▪ Getting people to be religious.
▪ Discipling and growing nobody.
▪ Raising followers and customers.
▪ Watering down God’s truth.
▪ Immediate results and solutions.
▪ Material and physical blessings
▪ Prove of physical blessings – properties.
▪ Gathering crowds to meetings.
The result is that your ministry will either die before you or die soon after you. Sad to know that majority of modern ministers tend their ministries much more towards time-bound impression than timeless impact. It’s time we realize that your true impact is not measured by your wealth, worth and worldly acclaim.
Rather, your impact is measured by what you donate, empower, enable and ideals you leave in people. The story of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther is instructive for timeless impact. A former slave, Bishop Crowther became a great linguist, translator, scholar and mission teacher. He is also credited with translating the Bible into Yoruba language, and many hymns.
In his sermon on Sunday June 30, 2015, Archbishop of Canterbury, John Welby said of Crowther, “in spite of immense hardship and despite the racism of many whites, he evangelized so effectively that he was eventually ordained Bishop, over much protest. He led his missionary Diocese brilliantly, but was in the end falsely accused and had to resign, not long before his death.
Crowther did not make himself grand. He lived out the commands of the words of his consecration. And from his time forward God has demonstrated his grace through that ministry. Today, well over 70 million Christians in Nigeria are his spiritual heirs” “Today we honour him and in so doing the Lord Jesus Christ whom he served.
We are sorry for his suffering at the hands of Anglicans in this country”
Factors for Timeless Impact
– Hebrews 11:4 How can we make the impact that will speak till eternity? How can we affect people in a positive and permanent way? These factors are fundamental to your impact:
1. A worthy and inspiring personal example – Your life is the true measure of your impact. Honest, transparent living.
2. Gospel of Jesus kingdom (Rom. 1:16) -Nothing else affects people most powerfully like the gospel of the kingdom.
3. Prayerfulness –He that can pray will surely affect generations.
4. Raising disciples -If you want your impact to last for sometime – raise customers If you want your impact to last for few years – raise followers.If you want generational impact – raise disciples for Jesus.
5. Publish the gospel (Mark 13:10; Psalm 68:11) –Publishing of books, materials, resources, tracts, outlines and readable makes your impact to endure.
6. Godly family -Your true impact starts from your home. (1 Tim. 5:8) If your home is godly, the ministry, church, community and nation will prosper.
7. Discover and fulfill purpose –Find out your divine assignment, use your gifts to make the world better and bring Him glory.
8. Works that speak after death-Songs, lyrics, Bible translations, reading the Bible in motions, films and motion pictures will continue to speak long after you have gone. “Paul’s letters are the advanced teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. No great preacher has arisen to bless the people of God who have not lighted his touch at the flame kindled by Paul.
Whole sermons may be found in separate words: whole volumes in single sentences. Even after two thousand years, Paul is preaching every week in a thousand languages in a hundred thousand pulpits all over the world” – P. C. Nelson. D.Characteristics of Ministers That Last – 1 Tim. 4:16 In order to make timeless impact, not just fleeting impressions, ministers and leaders must learn to minister long-term and hold on to integrity and sacrificial leadership.
1. Begin with the determination to make major impact.
2. Have the mind to finish well.
3. Have a vision to make spiritual impact for God.
4. Take care of yourself spiritually – read, study, pray and be committed to your devotions.
5. Take care of yourself physically.
6. Invest in your family.
7. Treat people well with justice and fair play.
8. Share the workload of ministry.
9. Learn from discouragement and failure.
10. Have good friends who can hold you accountable.
11. Don’t take yourself too seriously – be simple. To lead well and make major impact in life and ministry, you must imbibe these salient qualities. Furthermore: ⇒ Don’t surrender your impact to Impossibility.⇒ Don’t surrender your impact to Opposition.⇒ Don’t surrender your impact to Deception.⇒ Don’t surrender your impact to Money.⇒ Don’t surrender your impact to Failure.⇒ Don’t surrender your impact to Problems.⇒ Don’t surrender your impact to Counseling.⇒ Don’t surrender your impact to Rejection.⇒ Don’t surrender your impact to Fear.⇒ Don’t surrender your impact to Negative voices.
“A lot of theology you hear preached today is a cheap grace sold on the market place of religion.” – B. H. Clendennen. “The preacher should see preaching much more as a declaration of war, a conflict in which well-disciplined words march as to war to bring the hearers to surrender to Jesus Christ. We need to use the pulpit as a battle station” – C. J. Miller
“It seems that preachers today would rather sacrifice faithfulness in order to receive acceptance, popularity and open-doors. But this will never be honoured by God with a Heaven sent Revival God only entrusts faithful men. Those who exaggerate concerning ministry today will miss revival tomorrow. Those who seek the applause of man today will miss God’s applause tomorrow. Those who seek to be noticed and hailed today will be forgotten tomorrow”