Early in my ministry at Rock Valley Bible Church, I read a book with a pastor from another church in town. The book was entitled, “An Earnest Ministry: The Want of the Times” by John Angell James. Although the book was written in the mid-eighteen hundreds, it still carries much wisdom for today.
He quoted a sentence from the British Quarterly Review: “No ministry will be really effective, whatever may be its intelligence, which is not a ministry of strong faith, true spirituality, and deep earnestness.” James then wrote, …
I wish this golden sentence could be inscribed in characters of light over every professor’s chair, over every student’s desk, and over every preacher’s pulpit. Condensed into that one short paragraph is every thing that needs be said on this subject. I feel that every syllable I have to write would be superfluous, if all our pastors, students, and tutors, would let that one sentence take full occupation of their hearts, possess their whole souls, and regulate their conduct (John Angell James, An Earnest Ministry: The Want of the Times, [Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1993], 28).
I followed his advice. I printed out his sentence. I taped it in front of my desk. It has remained their for a decade to remind me of what it takes to have a truly effective ministry. May the Lord grant strength to follow its counsel.