The minister's life must be not only prepared, but also filled. Ministry always comes from the overflow. It is what God has given to the minister, not just for himself, but for others to partake of.
Paul said that he was a master builder. He laid the foundation, the only foundation, which is Christ. Then he cautioned all ministry to beware how they built upon that foundation. By this we can say that ministers are builders in their function. They are channels by which Christ may supply to the church all that He is and can do. There must be an outworking of His purpose in union with God. We can do nothing of ourselves; it must be God working in and through us. It must be the new and living way--the heavenly walk down here.
We must all be ministers of faith, for faith sees the possibilities and then walks in them, always remembering that it is Christ who gives and maintains His life within us. Our life must be all faith. There can be no place for natural ability or thinking in the life of the minister. Faith is making way for God and giving Him the place to work all things.
Ministry has three vital elements: seeing, experiencing, and anointing. Seeing must be with the capacity to minister to others. The minister must be experiencing what he is seeing, or his ministry will be only in theory and not from the presence of God. The anointing must be on both the word that is brought and the time in which it is brought. We need God's timing. As we go on to function, we will see how important God's timing is. Ministry must be faithful to the Lord at all times, patient but diligent.
The minister must be mindful that anything that issues from the natural or soulish realm defiles the church. This can only be avoided when ministry is moving together under the Head, and by His Spirit being able together to recognize the fruits of spiritual ministry. There is one fruit we can look for in the lives of believers--growth in knowing Him.
We see that ministry must be bringing forth the message out of the same revelation of God's plan, and moving in the same direction. If ministry is under the direction of the Spirit, it will function together in harmony, seeing lives changed and being able to function together--"fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, making increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love" (Ephesians 4:16).
All ministry must come forth from the revelation. If ministry is not coming forth from God's revelation to men's hearts, it is not under the control of the Spirit, and will not build. If the oversight allows that kind of ministry to go on without correcting it, the Spirit can be grieved, and confusion brought to the direction the church is taking. Ministry must be pulling together. Where the Spirit is in control, there is liberty--liberty to move together in the will of God.
Ministry must be tolerant, but without compromise. This can be possible only in the Spirit. When we are single-eyed, the body is full of light. Different ministries can be recognized by the members when they are receiving light and are able to move in faith. The Spirit within each member gives witness to the words of life.