My Son and Bro,
As you serve Jesus faithfully, I want to pass to you the things God has taught me. Use what is helpful to you. My hope is that you would read and re-read this letter in different seasons on ministry. Different parts will mean more at different times. Read the Bible more… but let this serve as words from your friend and father who loves you. My prayer is that God will give you opportunities I never had and that he will use you much more than he has me.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the worth everything. It is not only the message we proclaim, it is also the means by which God transforms us. A commitment to preach and train others in the Gospel will anchor you from drifting from the most important things. But the power of the Gospel is not merely a matter of orthodoxy, but it is essential for orthopraxy. Don’t simply preach the Gospel, do the Gospel. Let everything… and I mean everything… be an overflowing act of worship in response to what Jesus has done for you. Without this power, you will burn up and be left with a hardened heart and lifeless faith.
Perseverance is more important than gifting. God gives talent. That is his prerogative and his privilege. While we have no say in the talents and gifts we are given, we do have a responsibility to steward them well. To see the gifts God has given you come to full blossom, perseverance is the necessary pruning agent. Before God uses His man, He has to first make Him. Don’t resist the hardship and suffering you will face for your commitment to the Gospel. In suffering for the Gospel, you will share a deeper and new sense of identify with Jesus. You will be able to more greatly appreciate what He has done for you. As you pay the price for others to connect with God through the Gospel, you will be reminded of the greatest price Christ paid for you to connect with Him. Let this propel you to thankfulness, not bitterness. If you focus on those causing you pain, you will be bitter, but if you focus on the one who took pain for you, you will become thankful. Choose thankfulness… and allow the Gospel to inform that decision.
Do everything in your power to fight sin in your heart. Utilize EVERY tool God has given you to war against the flesh. Don’t neglect community. God does not want you to fight alone. Be wise, but listen to me… IT IS A LIE that because you are a church leader that you cannot be vulnerable about your sin. Instead, BOAST IN YOUR WEAKNESS. Others may judge you and deem you a less quality leader… but boasting in your weakness allows the Grace of Jesus to shine more brightly. Those damaged by sin will be drawn to that light like a moth to flame. Let the Gospel burn brightly in your weakness.
Invest in faithful men. As a minister of the Gospel, you must dedicate yourself to the work of disciplemaking. Do not simply do ministry yourself, but make an intention effort to equip and train others. But as Paul says, be sure that they are faithful men. It may sound heartless, but invest in the unfaithful is as pointless as a one legged cat trying to bury a turd on an ice pond (my crazy uncle used to say that.) But it is true. When you invest in the unfaithful, everyone suffers and you have wasted your effort. But when you invest in the faithful, not only will they flourish, but the unfaithful will be motivated to faithfulness. It is the most loving act for everyone you serve.
There are many more things I could say, but I will leave it at that. If you dedicate yourself to these things, I believe you fill find strength to persevere in the Gospel.