My friend Doug Nichols is the founder of Action International Ministries, a wonderful missions organization, and serves now with Commission to Every Nation, or CTEN. Doug sent me the following as advice to new missionaries. But as I read it, it struck me that 95% of it is good advice for all believers. So I’m changing the title and commend this for the reading of both missionaries and all the rest of us.
In Colossians 1:29 Paul wrote, “I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” Let’s take Doug’s advice to heart and put it into practice with “all our energy,” remembering that it is the Holy Spirit who works in us and empowers us to live a life that is pleasing to Him.—Randy Alcorn
As you begin your ministry keep in mind that first of all you are a child of God, to be a living testimony of grace, godly character, and Christlikeness to the glory of God. The following items to practice and keep in mind will greatly assist in your walk with God:
1. No Bible, no breakfast! Do regular daily devotions and be serious about this. “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). Spend much time in the Word for personal and ministry growth in maturity!
2. Read! Read! Read! Read good books and read the Bible through at least once yearly! “Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Someone said, “If you do not read, you will not grow.” Another said, “Leaders are readers!”
3. Live by faith. “But my Righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38). Trust the Lord to use you, lead you, provide for you, and care for you!
4. Build friendships with local believers, and fellow missionaries, and be a member of a local evangelical church. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). “…but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another…” (1 John 1:7).
5. Share the gospel with others. Make it a habit to talk much of our wonderful Savior! The Apostle Paul wrote, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
6. Make discipleship a priority! No matter what your ministry is (education, working with the poor, digging wells, feeding ministry, children’s work, etc) remember mIssions first of all is to share the Gospel and make disciples! “Go into all the world and make disciples..!” (Mathew 28:19-20).
7. Practice hospitality whether you are single or married, and do this often. “Be hospitable to one another without complaint” (1 Peter 4:9).
8. Love the Savior, love saints, and love sinners. “You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:38-39).
9. Put on humility daily. “…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…” (1 Peter 5:5b).
10. Be a servant of Christ by serving others. Remember manners are “the kindness of Christ in action.” “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God...so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 4:10-11).