This is part of the series How to Shape Your Ministry Around Disciple Making.
KH: There’s something I found incredibly helpful in Phase One. It’s the four “P”s of ministry, the four “P”s of discipleship. Would you mind sharing those?
SM: The first is the Proclamation of God’s Word in many ways.
We don’t believe that expository ministry is limited to the pulpit. We think that there are a variety of venues for expository ministry because it’s simply teaching God’s Word with God’s intent. Therefore, the first “P” is that we want to find as many venues as possible to proclaim the Word of God because that’s the means of making disciples.
The second is Prayerful Dependence on the Spirit.
As Paul reminded the church in Corinth, one waters and one sows and one reaps, but God is the one who gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3). Yes, we can pray; yes, we can prepare; yes, we can teach the Word of God; but we need to prayerfully depend on the Spirit. He is the one who makes the difference. He’s the initiator. He’s the evangelist. It’s by the Spirit of God that people come to faith in Christ. And it’s by the Spirit of God working through the Word that people grow as disciples of Christ.
The third “p” is People.
Ministry is about people. So often we think of ministry as programs. So we have the Sunday service, we have Sunday School for adults, we have Sunday School for children, we have the youth group on Wednesday night, we have small groups in homes. We have all these ministries, and we think that because we have all those programs in place, we’re a godly church. There’s nothing wrong with any of those programs, but again, those programs are trellises. They’re structures we put into place so that hopefully we can do prayerful people work as we proclaim God’s Word to them. We want to see ministry about people, right? So, how do I minister to these people? Prioritize people before programs.
The fourth is Perseverance.
This is a very important thing because of our culture’s inner and outer pressure to be successful. Our culture focuses so much on growth, numbers – what is dynamic and exciting. But the reality is that most of ministry happens in the trenches. It’s slow work. People work is slow. God takes His time. It doesn’t happen overnight, and God often works in a small way. It’s small, slow, and quiet, but over a period of time, you will see that the Spirit of God, through the Word of God, does terrific work in people.
Perseverance is very important, because so often, as things are small or we’re working through difficult situations with people, we’re tempted to give up. We need to press on and persevere.
It’s worth sharing a familiar passage of Scripture that emphasizes the perseverance aspect of discipleship: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:1–2, ESV; emphasis added).
The next part of the interview focuses on reforming your personal culture.