The following are my most developed thoughts on the ministry that I can come up with at the present. But I want to emphasize “at the present,” because I still have much to learn by way of books and experience. However, I would maintain, that if the following rules are kept closely, and prayerfully, and conscientiously, then they may result in a godly and fruitful ministry.
A Godly Pastor: Serious, Puritanical Preacher. Most of what we call “ministry” in a church on Sunday morning, has to do with the subjects that the pastor chooses to preach about in his sermon. Ever since the days of the Protestant Reformation, the church has always been understood as a “preaching house” and in some cases a “Gospel hall.” There can be no godly sermons, and no godly preaching, without a godly pastor. He must definitely be a true Christian, a sin-hating, temptation-resisting, devil-conquering, flesh-denying, world-opposing, Christian soldier. When it comes to sin, death, Hell, and judgment:–he’s serious. When it comes to preaching holiness and righteousness, and living godly lives:–he’s utterly serious. He is evangelistic; he’s a missionary and an evangelist at heart. His love for the lost and perishing constrains him to preach the Gospel and testify of God’s saving grace. He’s not a false gospeller or a cheap gracer; he stands in the Puritan tradition of preaching on the holy things of God. His heroes are holy and godly men from the past.
Independent; Non-Denominational: “Free Pulpit”. Since the times of the Reformers and Puritans, to be a “Nonconformist” has proven to be the usual ministry setting in which true men of God arrive at (Matthew Henry, John Bunyan, Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, etc). That is, being independent from the carnal church establishment which has currently hijacked the ministry world. So it was with the Church of England establishment in the times of the Puritans and Methodists; and I say, so it shall be with us today, with most of the denominations which are caught up in the Seeker-Sensitive establishment (Willow Creek Association). Ever since this carnal “ministry manifestation” has occurred, with its business management marketing approach to the ministry, and its countless church entertainments, God has still left us a remnant of Elijahs and Elishas to lead the godly into what true ministry looks like (Leonard Ravenhill, David Wilkerson, Paul Washer, etc). However, I’ll admit that A. W. Tozer is an exception to this, as he was a pastor in the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Other than that, it seems that fiery and godly preaching of the moral Law and the statutes of God and the “showing to Israel their transgressions” (Isa. 58:1; godly Puritanical preaching) is mostly going to thrive in an independent church environment. I think it was Finney who said that a “free pulpit” is more helpful in the promotion of revivals than a controlled one:–that is, a pulpit in which there are no strings attached; no carnal church board controlling the pastor’s preaching by playing with his salary or his job security; but no, in a pastor-run “free pulpit” he is free indeed to PREACH REPENTANCE and MIRACULOUS GIFTS as the Spirit gives him utterance! A free pulpit is a prophet’s pulpit; a pulpit where words of knowledge can manifest without scandal.
Repentance Focused. A godly ministry is always focused on repentance. You might as well call it “Repent and Believe Ministries.” But really: what I mean is that the pastor and the laity are living out the Christian life. They are steered away from easy believism on a regular basis, and are frequently exhorted to “examine themselves to see whether they are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5) and to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling” before God (Php. 2:12). This pastor and this church do not play around with sin, even the smallest kinds. They are a very conscientious people; they want to be good, godly, holy, and righteous people, who “shine as lights in the world” (Php. 2:15). They are of the understanding that God demands obedience to His Word and expects His people to be saints who are growing in that obedience from an attitude of fear, to that of reverence, to that of pure love for God and man. The church is not a “lovey-dovey, squishy, mushy” congregation; and neither is the pastor namby-pamby, full of jokes (not to say that all joking is bad; just to say that the general demeanor is serious and reverent in ministry activities). There is a “church militant” kind of an air about it; sort of like the Salvation Army was in the late 1800s. The ministry’s focus is to secure men’s salvation by repentance from sin and faith in the Savior; which is the only sure evidence of justification from sin, Hell, and eternal damnation.
Evangelistic and Charismatic Ministry among the Laity. In order for the Holy Spirit to gain full control over the congregation, it is important that the people in the church, after experiencing the born again experience, and after demonstrating that they are truly living out the basic principles of the Christian life:–that they be trained and equipped to do evangelistic street preaching and witnessing. Traditionally, “street meetings” in urban centers are the place for this. What’s more, is if the pastor is charismatically gifted, and knowledgeable of such matters, he should pray for and teach his evangelistic church members how to receive and give words of knowledge, and how to pray for the sick by the prayer of faith till results are achieved, for the glory of Christ and the Gospel. That the Gospel may be preached with the “accompanying signs” (Mark 16:20). On street meetings and evangelistic outreach, I encourage reading about the lives of William Booth and John Wesley. For insight into words of knowledge and divine healing, read all of John Wimber’s books: Power Evangelism, Power Healing, Power Points, and Power Encounters. [Bibliography on Street Meetings:–Londa Duncan’s Touching Lives, ch. 3: “Street Meetings and Building Congregations”; Cecil Robeck’s The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, p. 109; W. C. Dunlap’s Life of S. Miller Willis, “The Holiness Meetings and the Street Meetings”, p. 91; Beth Scgweiger’s Religion in the American South, p. 228; “The street meetings are attended by crowds. Last Sunday night, many had to be turned away. Bro. McCauley has charge of the work. He says, ‘The Lord has wonderfully planted the seed of salvation in Long Beach in street meetings every Sunday afternoon. O how I praise Him for the outpouring of His Spirit. A baby that had been sick all its life was wonderfully healed in answer to prayer'” (Roberts Liardon’s The Azusa Street Revival, p. 139); Mother Beulah Turner-Brown’s From Rags to Riches, p. 6; “Elder Benjamin gave leadership to the church’s evangelistic ministry by conducting street meetings and tent meetings throughout the city, sometimes featuring guest evangelists” (Cheryl Sanders’ Saints in Exile, p. 37); James R. Goff’s Portraits of a Generation, p. 131–on William Durham; “My mother was born in Falcon, North Carolina on February 7, 1914…she and her sisters also held ‘Street Meetings’ on Saturdays in North Carolina towns like Dunn and Fayetteville” (Jeraldine T. Posey’s Let My Handmaid Speak, p. 159); Good example of how weekly street meetings can lead to the formation of a church:–“In 1885 five holiness workers in Philadelphia, who for three years had been holding street meetings, rented a hall and organized the Heavenly Recruit Association of Philadelphia. Spreading to other Pennsylvania towns and eventually to Indiana and Illinois, the Heavenly Recruits re-organized in 1894 as the Holiness Christian Association; three years later, as the Holiness Christian Church” (Charles Edwin Jones’ Perfectionist Persuasion: The Holiness Movement and American Methodism, 1867-1936, p. 91); Shows that the Salvation Army gave up on street meetings around the year 1900:–Lillian Taiz’s Hallelujah Lads & Lasses: Remaking the Salvation Army in America, 1880-1930, p. 142)…probably because William Booth died in 1912: James Goll’s Compassion, p. 59)]
Prayer Meetings. Every Wednesday, there should be a prayer meeting where repentance-focused intercession and evangelistically-focused prayers are offered up to God by the congregation in concerted prayer. Prayers for missionaries, evangelists, and lost loved ones should be offered; also, personal confessions and repentances, if so led: “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that ye may be healed” (Jas. 5:16). These meetings should last one hour at least; and 4 hours at most.