Ministry requires skill. Every ministry position, whether vocational or volunteer, carries with it the expectation that the minister can do certain things effectively, many times beyond the specific ministry function related to the position.
For instance, Bible study teachers are expected to have the skill of interpreting the biblical text and applying its truth to life situations. But they may also be expected to have the skills of helping to resolve conflict, listening to class members who are hurting, providing pastoral care to someone who is sick, and helping someone become a follower of Christ.
A church family certainly expects a pastor to communicate spiritual truth in a way that is life-transforming, but may also expect their pastor to have the skills of assessing the needs of the surrounding community, building an effective ministry team, and leading the church in conducting cross-cultural missions.
Many professions, like medicine, law, and teaching, recognize the importance of skills by requiring updates through an annual certification process. According to Reggie McNeal, ministry skills are not immune to becoming outdated and ineffective over time:
Many men and women who entered the ministry with a clear sense of call to make a difference feel overwhelmed, bewildered, defeated, and generally under-prepared for the challenges they face. Having packed their bags for the journey of the church age, they now have no idea what should be in their leadership backpack for the current excursion. The portfolio of skills that once gave them standing in the community of faith no longer distinguishes them, ensures their effectiveness, or guarantees their continued leadership
position. (The Present Future, pp. 7-8)
Do your ministry skills need updating? Are they out-of-balance? Does your calling require you to focus your development in certain areas? Below is a list of 35 skills identified by Rockbridge Seminary as helpful for ministry in the 21st century. Rockbridge Seminary students use this list as an assessment tool within their academic program.
- Leads and/or works with other people in planning and facilitating worship.
- Performs baptisms, weddings, funerals and other ordinances of the church in an appropriate manner.
- Designs creative worship experiences that involve music, media, and the arts.
- Educates the congregation in personal, family, and corporate worship.
- Communicates Scripture in a way that leads an intended audience to worship and to experience life transformation.
- Leads a congregation in prayer and a prayer ministry.
- Practices and leads the church in practicing worship through stewardship of life and resources.
- Builds and maintains healthy relationships with others.
- Sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.
- Develops relationships within and external to the ministry organization for accountability and personal support.
- Functions effectively with professional staff and church members and works with others in resolving conflict in the body of Christ.
- Listens and responds in ways that let people know they have been heard.
- Develops small groups and leads them to birth new groups.
- Leads the church in developing a process for connecting new members into the life and purposes of the church.
- Interprets the biblical text and applies its truth to life situations.
- Effectively employs Bible study tools and basic biblical language skills for personal Bible study and Bible teaching.
- Evaluates current ministry programs and issues in light of church history and theology.
- Leads the church in planning, conducting, and evaluating a comprehensive program of discipleship and Christian maturity.
- Demonstrates a vibrant spiritual life through the implementation of spiritual disciplines including prayer, Bible study, holiness of life and communion with God.
- Models the role of an effective teacher and communicator.
- Leads in developing, evaluating, and administering curriculum plans; functions as resource person in discipleship curriculum.
- Exercises the administrative skills of strategic planning, organizing, leading and evaluating the work of ministry that leads to achievement of defined goals and the mission of the New Testament church.
- Provides spiritual guidance in helping others analyze how God has shaped them for ministry through spiritual gifts, heart for ministry, abilities, personality, and experiences.
- Recruits, trains, and supervises individuals to fulfill the purposes of the church.
- Assesses the needs of the ministry community, designs appropriate actions to meet those needs, and effectively markets the church’s ministry in the community.
- Develops and administers budgets for ministry programs and organizations; reads and prepares financial reports.
- Provides pastoral care and counseling for the sick, hurting, and grieving, and makes appropriate referrals to other sources of professional help.
- Demonstrates godly humility and sacrificial love for those in the church.
- Communicates biblical truth through preaching, personal witness, teaching, speaking, writing, music, and other ways as may be appropriate to fulfill the Great Commission.
- Leads the church in an effective program of evangelism; plans and conducts a program of community witness.
- Leads the church in planning and conducting cross-cultural missions.
- Builds relationships with unbelievers that lead to opportunities to share the gospel.
- Interprets the culture and plans appropriate strategies for sharing the gospel in that culture.
- Respects persons of different cultural, social and religious backgrounds.
- Articulates the Christian message and contrasts that message with other worldviews and major world religions.
Decide which degree is best for you.
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