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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Healthy ministry begins with relationship

By Jeff Hegstrom
When I first started out in ministry, I willingly admit that I knew absolutely nothing, but I had a passion to “do” something for God. I wanted to make a difference! I longed for God to use the good and bad experiences I had in my life and I wanted to share my spiritual life journey to bring hope to the hopeless and win the lost for Him.

I still love that kind of raw passion for God, but what I didn’t understand back then was that I couldn’t do it alone. During the first three years of ministry, I almost burned myself out trying to “do” everything and reach out to every age group. I had the misguided idea that as the paid staff member, I should and could meet all the needs of the ministry. 

One evening, as I was getting ready to kick off one of our weekly ministries to college students, I broke. Wow, that’s an honest thought. I broke… I broke, and I couldn’t fix me, so right then and there I cried out to God for help and He answered me (Psalm 40:1-3) and showed me that I was trying to serve Him, without Him.

My priorities were completely out of line and as a result I had nothing left to give.  I was spent. You see, God didn’t call us as believers to “do” ministry for Him. He first called us to “be” in Him. In John 15:7-8, Jesus teaches us that it is out of our relationship and connectedness with Him that we will bear much fruit and show ourselves to be His disciple.

Ministry that is relevant… begins with an authentic relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It begins with being found in Christ, learning to hear His voice, seeking to know His heart, and following after His will. When we place our relationship with Christ above everything else in this life, the product will not be your exhausted efforts of “doing” ministry; but ministry will come from the inside out and your life will “bear much fruit!”

Ministry that is relevant … happens when we are in relationship with others. As a leader, I am constantly challenged by the Holy Spirit to live out Ephesians 4:11-16. God didn’t call you or me to be the lone ranger in our ministries, but “to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up.”  The role of healthy leadership is to equip and empower the whole body of Christ to become all that God has called His church to be. God has greatly gifted the whole body of Christ to serve together; everyone according to their gifts and what you must understand is that includes you. God has given you a spiritual gift(s) that is special and specific for you to use to minister and build up the body of Christ, His church; and every part is needed for the church to grow strong in healthy function. When you are using your spiritual gifts and ministering in your relationship with others, you will not only find yourself growing healthy; but the church begins to grow healthy too.

  • What is your spiritual gift? 
  • Are you using your spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ?
  • If not, what’s keeping you from your vital role in the body of Christ?
Stop and ask God to help you grow closer in your RELATIONSHIP with Him and then to help you discover your spiritual gifts and where you can use your gifts in RELATIONSHIP with others.

I know that sometimes the demands of our lives get overwhelming. It’s so easy to lose focus on what really matters and begin “doing” ministry; but resist the temptation to “do” ministry alone and in your own strength. When we have our priority set on our relationship with Christ and then others; God can produce in us a healthy, growing life and ministry that bears much fruit and shows yourself to be His disciple!

For resources on spiritual gifts and opportunities for leadership coaching, contact us at

Ministry is one of the evidences of what Relevant Ministry calls - the "7 Marks of Spiritual Health".  RM Coaching helps to assess all 7 Marks, providing an insightful check-up for personal spiritual health.  The RM team is writing about all 7 Marks, focusing on one topic a month with a new Blog article each week.  The topic this month is Ministry.  Please feel free to comment and join in on the conversation.

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RM’s vision - to equip leaders to minister relevantly in churches that will be healthy and thriving.

Relevant Ministry Inc.
Training future leaders - Building healthy ministries - Serving on the Gulf Coast

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