21. Listen more than you talk.

I could have said this differently–something like “Be a follower first.” Remember that the essence of ministry is serving others. You don’t need to be in charge of anything at first. Prove your faithfulness and promotion will come in due time. Remember that “everyone is my teacher because everyone knows something I don’t know.” So pay attention. Ask questions. Don’t be a big shot know-it-all. Be swift to hear and slow to speak. And that “slow to anger” part is important too.

These suggestions are not in any particular order so you can rearrange them any way you like. As I think about these 21 things, it occurs to me that you could do all of them and still be a washout in the ministry. In the final analysis only God can make true ministers of the gospel. He must call us, he must qualify us, he alone can “establish the work of our hands.” There are no guarantees, but these 21 things can help you become the kind of person God uses to bless others in Jesus’ name. I would love to hear your comments on this topic. What’s your advice for a young person preparing for the ministry?

Originally published on: January 28, 2009