Annual ‘godliness and good ministry review’
For the glory of God
It is wise for people in gospel ministry to get feedback, to increase accountability, to gain wisdom from others about our lives and ministries. Doing this once a year is a good habit!
- ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another’ [Prov 27:7].
- ‘the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice’ [Prov 9:9.
- ‘See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily … so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness’ [Heb 3:12,13].
The aim of this review is to help you make progress in your life and ministry. This will glorify and please God; it will be good for you; it will be good for your ministry; and will encourage those who ‘see your progress’ [1 Tim. 4:15].
Here is a suggested way of doing this. I have based it on the role of being minister of a church. You can adapt it to your own needs and ministry context.
Choose 2 or 3 people to help you and give you feedback. Choose people of integrity and wisdom and discretion, who will not misuse this ministry, who can maintain confidentiality, and who regularly see your life and ministry. Include a man and a woman, and people of different ages. Explain the process of the review. Make it clear it is not an employment review, but is to help you reflect on your own life and ministry, and to gain their wisdom to help you do this. Ask them to pray for you as you write your own reflections, then ask them to read what you have written, then to meet with your and give their wisdom and feedback, and to pray with you and for you at that meeting [and for the next six months].
Write your own reflections on your life and ministry, using the questions below to help you do this. Meditate on key Bible passages about life and ministry to help you clarify your reflections. [See below for some suggestions.] Ask God to bring to your mind issues which need attention. This helps you to see your life and ministry from God’s perspective.
Then send copies of your reflections to the 2 or 3 people whom you have chosen, and ask them to reflect on what you have written
Meet with the 2 or 3 people who have agreed to help you. Listen carefully to their comments on what you have written, invite them to ask you questions, and interact honestly and openly with them. ‘Wisdom is found in those who take advice’ [Prov 13:10]. Ask them to pray for you.
Out of that discussion, make a list of say 10 matters that need attention. Undertake to pray about these issues regularly, and to take action on them. Ask the others to pray intentionally for you for the next six months on these matters, that you will make progress in them.
Met with those people in six months’ time, to talk, pray, and praise God together.
Key Bible passages to aid your reflection.
Psalm 119; Prov 1; Jer 1:1-19; 8:8-12; 9:12-16; 23:25-40; Mal 2:1-9; Matthew 25; Mark 10:35-45; John 13:1-17; 15:1-17; Acts 6:1-7; 20:13-38; Romans 6; 8:18-39; 12:1-21; Gal 5:13-26; 6:1-10; 1 Cor 1:18-2:16; 1 Cor 3:1-17; 9; 12:1-13:31; 2 Cor 1:1-11; 4; 5:11-6:2; 12:1-10; Ephes 4:1-16; 4:17-5:20; 6:10-20; Phil 2:1-18; 3:7-14; 4:4-9; Col 1:3-14; 3:1-17; 1 Thess 2; 2 Thess 2:13-17; 1 Timothy; 2 Timothy; Titus; Heb 12:4-29; Jas 3; 1 Pet 4:7-19; 5:1-14; 2 Pet 1:1-21; 1 John 1:1-2:6; 4:7-21; 2 John; 3 John; Jude; Rev chs 1-4.
- Your own life
- How is your daily meditation on Holy Scripture, and your daily prayers?
- Are the fruit of the Spirit evident in your life?
- Are you growing in godliness?
- Are you confessing your sins each day, putting sin to death, and living in righteousness?
- Do you have any secret sins?
- Are you living and doing ministry for the glory of God?
- How is your physical, emotional, and mental condition? Are you healthy in body and mind? How about diet, exercise, sleep, relaxation, days off? Are you working too hard, or are you not working enough, or are you working hard but not as effectively and efficiently as you should? Do you need to make an appointment to see a medical specialist?
- Your relationships
Your relationships with:
- Your spouse, children, extended family, friends, neighbours.
- Your congregation, and different sorts of people in your congregation: such as elderly, young, people of different ethnic backgrounds, people who are like you, people who are unlike you, people who are strong, people who are weak, helpful people, difficult people, etc.
- Your Elders, Council, or Board.
- Your colleagues in ministry.
- Leaders of ministries.
- The local community.
- Your church denomination, association, or net-work.
- Mission agencies and Bible/Theological Colleges.
- Fellow-workers in God’s global gospel plan.
- Former members of the church now working in gospel ministry elsewhere.
[In order to do this more effectively, each time you do this review you ask could some representatives of different groups to give some feedback about their expectations and experience of you.]
- Your own ministry and training/equipping/enabling/supporting/ reviewing the ministry of others
- Your own prayers for the people.
- Teaching and worship:
- Preparation for this.
- Preaching and teaching people the Scriptures.
- Being aware of and helping people in the daily issues and challenges of contemporary life.
- Shaping and reforming the theology of the church.
- Leading Sunday services.
- Training others to lead services, read the Bible, take the prayers, preach.
- Mission and evangelism
- Your own evangelism.
- Training and enabling others.
- Creating opportunities for mission and evangelism.
- Making the most of the opportunities in the community around your church, and the communities of your members.
- Helping your church to love their neighbours.
- Helping to raise up gospel workers for Australia and overseas.
- Pastoral care
- Enabling and training others to do pastoral care.
- Encouraging everyone in their ‘one-to one’ ministries of caring, sharing, encouraging, practical help, prayer, etc.
- Caring for the sick and those in need, preparing and taking funerals, preparing and taking weddings.
- Maintaining Biblical truth, morality and actions, in the life and mission of the church.
- Helping to set and maintain the priorities/direction/vision of the church.
- Working with everyone to achieve the priorities/direction/vision of the church.
- Delegating ministries to other people, with clear responsibilities, expectations and time-frames; and providing initial and ongoing training, and appropriate support, supervision and oversight.
- Care of and encouragement of your fellow-workers.
- Responding appropriately to conflict and struggles between yourself and others or with conflict within the church: not avoiding it, nor increasing it, nor being controlled by it; but by working and praying towards possible peace [Romans 12:18].
- Your own administration in: prioritising important tasks and using your time and energy well; keeping a calendar of activities, and a Ministry Diary; maintain good spaces, places, and times for your ministry; maintaining a good filing system, and an ordered library and resources for ministry.
- Maintaining and enabling your own good communication: both communicating well with others, and enabling receiving communications from them. Do not be inaccessible: ensure accessibility that is manageable for you and for others!
- Working with the Church Council/Elders/Leaders to ensure that someone is ensuring that the following tasks are being done and that someone is doing them: internal communication within the church; employment conditions and the implementation of those conditions; management of the finances, financial reports, audit; the buildings [owned or rented], including compliance and regular cleaning; church records; and compliance responsibilities for child safety etc.
- In-service training
This includes your own wider reading and learning, programs or courses or training sessions.
[In order to help the process, it would be good to keep a record of the hours you have worked each week in each of these areas, say for an average month. This will help you see what you have actually done, and may encourage you to reorganise your priorities; work less hours; or work more hours!
When I have done this I have used a table like this for each working day, and then added the totals each week.
|Your own prayers|
|Teaching and worship, including prep and time before services|
|Mission and evangelism|
|Pastoral care, including time after services|
- Qualities needed for godliness and good ministry
- Loving respect for others, servant-heartedness, integrity, honesty, openness to correction and rebuke, valuing and honouring all, loyalty to the church, the leaders, and colleagues, able to delegate.
- No gossip, dishonesty, manipulation, unfairness, injustice, favouritism, lack of respect, avoidance of responsibility, procrastination, and no physical, emotional, relational, or sexual abuse.
- Healthy work-patterns: efficiency and effectiveness in work; allocating the right time and energy to each task, achieving your tasks each day, no wasting of time; no unhealthy anxiety, stress, anger, obsession, avoidance or procrastination; and no inability to stop work and rest, and no using of work to avoid personal or family problems.
- No substance or alcohol abuse, no physical, verbal or emotional violence, no bad moods, insults, derogatory comments, anger, resentment or cynicism.
- Working well with other people, valuing their insights; dealing well with conflict; flexibility, persistence and endurance, dealing well with discouragements. Maintaining good morale.
- Not avoiding difficult decisions, no procrastination, no anger or betrayal.
- A good balance of doing what has to be done, and working on achieving positive goals and strategic ministry.
- Are you still working creatively and positively in your ministry: or is it time to begin look for another ministry?
- Having the right balance between: achieving progress and celebrating and supporting what is happening; making changes and honouring the past; providing leadership and including those resistant to change; rebuking sin and showing God’s patience with sinners.
- No imminent burn-out.
 You may decide that you will not enlist the help of others this time. You can easily adapt this material and use it to enable your own reflection before God.
 You might well decide to add question which are particularly relevant to you at this time.
 A Ministry Diary is a good idea to help you remember what you have done. It would also be invaluable if someone accuses you of some kind of abuse in the future, to have a daily record of your ministry. Of course if it includes records of conversations and prayer, then it must be kept in a confidential and secure place.
 See this useful material to detect burn-out.