The key—the foundation—of success in ministry, is a deepening love relationship with God. In beginning and growing women’s ministries, God looks for women who will love Him totally. Because the love relationship pleases God, He invites women to be where He is, and He honors the love relationship by accomplishing His work through them. If they stray from the love relationship, God moves to bring them back into a right relationship with Himself.
How do you nurture a deepening relationship with God? What key principles must you practice? How can the quality of your relationship with God grow and improve? Consider these essential elements:
1. Step out in faith. Are you ever amazed at those the Bible identified as saints? Many listed in Hebrews 11 did not have very good track records by our standards: Jacob was manipulative, deceptive, and self-centered; Rahab was a prostitute; Samson lacked self-control with women. How could these be included with stellar examples like Enoch, Joseph, or Samuel? If both groups are saints, a standard greater than performance must exist. The common denominator shared by both groups is that when God spoke, they believed and obeyed instantly. Faith pleases God. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). As a leader you should expect God to give you tasks that require faith. Otherwise, when circumstances are difficult or a challenge looms impossible, you may ask God to intervene. You may be tempted to pray, “Oh God, please do something to lighten the load.” God will respond: “I’m the One who led you to this point. Now I want you to exercise faith so that I can display My glory.”
The biblical principle is simple. Walking by faith creates the opportunity for God to do something supernatural. Everyone watching your life will recognize that God did it, and He will receive the glory. Be prepared. If you’re serious about growing in intimacy with God, He will ask you to step out in faith and trust Him for “impossible” things in your ministry. However, be certain you know it is God leading you to step out in faith. Don’t test God by devising your own plan. If it’s your idea and not His, you will fall.
2. Put God first. The first Commandment warns that nothing shall be before God. God tolerates no competitors, demands preeminence over all, and will test you to learn whether you’d rather have other things or Him.
3. Seek His interests. The great saints could see from God’s perspective what He wanted; they were zealous for His sake. When Jesus overturned money tables and denounced those who turned His Father’s house into a market, the disciples remembered, “Zeal for your house will consume me” (John 2:17). Moses pled with God to refrain from destroying the Israelites because he worried God’s name would be dishonored. God will constantly examine your prayer life to see if it seeks His perspectives and interests.
4. Love holiness. God is holy, hates wickedness, and loves righteousness. A deepening relationship with God is marked by removal of sins and failings. He blesses integrity more than intelligence, skill, wisdom, or experience.
5. Be willing to change for Him. Every person in the Bible who followed God was marked by change—whether career, geographical location, belief and practice of faith, methodology or organization, family relationships, or character. You may need to reorganize, restructure, or modify your leadership style to be more effective. Remember—changes always fall in line with what is necessary to accomplish God’s assignment for you.
6. Focus on serving others first. You show Jesus love when you serve His children. In John 21, Jesus asked Peter to show his love for Him by feeding His sheep. God always looked for shepherds to edify and strengthen the flock (see Ezek. 37; 1 Pet. 5). God is not nearly as concerned with the number of people involved in your ministry as He is with whether or not you love the number He gives you, regardless of their actions.
7. Practice these principles and pursue Him with passion and intensity. Consistency in practicing these disciplines determines closeness. All the saints who enjoyed great favor with God exercised these disciplines that lead to godliness. Nurture your daily walk with God. The articles we share here deal with skills and ideas necessary to leadership, but your ministry success ultimately comes from the quality of your relationship with God. God never allows us to overlook or bypass the love relationship.