Paul (and his team) give us a model for ministry in his first letter to the Thessalonians, providing a practical look at the manner of the ministry. I think it is interesting that as Paul gives us a rare look into his minister’s heart we find the motives that underlie his methodology; and noteworthy that we hear so little about that methodology.
We must remember that God uses godly people. Methods and programs are secondary. A Godly person can be used in any setting.
I Thessalonians 2:1-12 (ESV)
“For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. ”
Some initial simple thoughts I’ve considered as I seek to understand what Paul writes about doing the ministry:
- No error, deceit, or impurity in their message – they took care to be honest in every way.
- They were not men-pleasers – God’s pleasure rather than man’s accolades or acceptance is most important.
- Integrity marks the ministry – everything
- Gentleness – the kind demonstrated by a new mother, nursing her child.
- A fond affection for those he serves, not merely doing his job.
- The Gospel is the core of their message.
- They gave themselves, not just their words.
- The ministry was marked by hard work, they labored in doing it.
- They were completely above reproach in their conduct – holy, righteous, and blameless.
- They acted with the fondness of a father for his children – exhorting them, encouraging them, charging them to live for God.
- They had a pure goal – that the flock would walk worthy of God.
What would you add?