So much of one’s effectiveness in ministry has to do with the matters that may appear small but in fact are very important.
1. Attitude. This is huge! A negative attitude, a cynical spirit, and a fault-finding disposition have a way of wearing out a congregation. The content of a minister’s teaching may be correct, but the teaching may not be taken seriously because of the attitude of the minister.
2. Humility. Some ministers have a way of bringing every conversation back to themselves. Instead of asking others to elaborate after they have shared an experience, some people will immediately interject, “Yeah, you should have seen what happened to me, blah, blah, blah.” People see through this after a while.
3. Daily discipline. People in these congregations work very hard. Some work two jobs and are just getting by. When a minister appears to not work hard or to even be lazy, he/she quickly loses the respect of many. Likewise it is unwise to talk on and on about how busy (read “important”) you are.
4. Follow-through. This is very important. When one fails to follow through with a phone call, visit, or some other form of contact after having promised to do so, some credibility is lost. Think of the promises that we make:
“I’ll call you about lunch.”
“I’ll check on the price of tickets and get back with you.”
“I’ll get back with you.”
People hear these statements and they hear promises. When we consistently fail to follow through, people learn that what we say means very little.
Ministry is about incarnation. We are intentional about letting Christ be formed in us as we live out the gospel in a community of believers. We pray. We think. We read Scripture. However, through our own behavior, we can diminish our credibility.