Welcome to this edition of Nations.
In this short article, I will briefly highlight five keys from Paul’s words to Timothy for effective and enduring ministry. The passage of Scripture we’ll focus on is 2 Timothy 2:1-13.
1. Be strong in grace and not in your own strength (v. 1)
Ministry leaders must not depend on their own internal resources, but draw strength, courage, and dependence from God’s grace, which is available anywhere, anytime through Jesus. Reach out to Him, call upon His name, rest in His presence, and seek Him for His strength.
2. Reproduce yourself by intentionally investing in the new generation (v. 2)
Paul writes here of four different tiers of leaders investing in the next:
Jesus — Paul
Paul — Timothy
Timothy — faithful (reliable) men
Reliable men — others (presumably emerging leaders)
Ministry leaders are encouraged to intentionally invest in the new generation. Raising leaders is not a programme, but a life-on-life relationship. Each of us must identify, foster relationship, train (equip), mobilise, and encourage our spiritual “sons” and “daughters”. John Wesley once asked a group of ministers, “Are you doing the work of ten men or putting ten men to work?”
3. Endure — don’t give up (vv. 3-6)
To illustrate his point on endurance, Paul introduced three metaphors: (a) soldier, (b) athlete, and (c) farmer. To endure, we must learn from the soldier to maintain our single-minded dedication to our mission and our unflinching obedience to our Commander. To endure, we must learn from the athlete the importance of living by right standards and principles (i.e. compete according to the rules). To endure, we also learn from the farmer to work hard and be patient with the seasons and cycles of ministry.
4. Be prepared to make sacrifices for the Gospel (vv. 8-10)
The Gospel is powerful. It is a life-changing message. Paul encouraged Timothy to stay committed to the Gospel and to pay whatever price was necessary to see it preached and prevail. Paul had paid an enormous cost to preach the Gospel and he urged Timothy to do likewise.
5. Remember the promises of God (vv. 11-13)
These few verses record three promises and one warning. The promises are written to encourage Timothy. Similarly, to serve God throughout a lifetime, we need to constantly remember the specific promises God has made about our lives and our ministries. Embrace them, declare them, live by them, and actively believe them.
By following these principles, we can have effective and enduring ministry.
By Bruce Hills