Sermon quotes on ministry

Bernard of Clairvaux

The man who is wise, therefore, will see his life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then discharges the overflow without loss to itself … Today there are many in the Church who act like canals, the reservoirs are far too rare … You too must learn to await this fullness before pouring out your gifts, do not try to be more generous than God.

On the Song of Songs

Tod Bolsinger

Christian Leaders: You were trained for a world that is disappearing.


William Carey

Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.


Carl F. H. Henry

The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.

John Henry Jowett

Ministry that costs nothing, accomplishes nothing.


Timothy Keller

it is one thing to have a ministry that is Gospel believing and even Gospel proclaiming but quite another to have one that is Gospel centered.

David Livingstone

If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?

J. Gresham Machen

For Christians to influence the world with the truth of God’s Word requires the recovery of the great Reformation doctrine of vocation. Christians are called to God’s service not only in church professions but also in every secular calling. The task of restoring truth to the culture depends largely on our laypeople.

To bring back truth, on a practical level, the church must encourage Christians to be not merely consumers of culture but makers of culture. The church needs to cultivate Christian artists, musicians, novelists, filmmakers, journalists, attorneys, teachers, scientists, business executives, and the like, teaching its laypeople the sense in which every secular vocation-including, above all, the callings of husband, wife, and parent–is a sphere of Christian ministry, a way of serving God and neighbor that is grounded in God’s truth. Christian laypeople must be encouraged to be leaders in their fields, rather than eager-to-please followers, working from the assumptions of their biblical worldview, not the vapid clichés of pop culture.

Brennan Manning

What makes authentic disciples is not visions, ecstasies, biblical mastery of chapter and verse, or spectacular success in the ministry, but a capacity for faithfulness. Buffeted by the fickle winds of failure, battered by their own unruly emotions, and bruised by rejection and ridicule, authentic disciples may have stumbled and frequently fallen, endured lapses and relapses, gotten handcuffed to the fleshpots and wandered into a far county. Yet, they kept coming back to Jesus.” 

The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out

John C. Maxwell

The goal of the pastor is not to get people to show up but to get people to grow up.


Henri J.M. Nouwen

Ministry means the ongoing attempt to put one’s own search for God, with all the moments of pain and joy, despair and hope, at the disposal of those who want to join this search but do not know how.

Creative Ministry

Eugene Peterson

The vocation of pastor(s) has been replaced by the strategies of religious entrepreneurs with business plans.


Eugene Peterson

A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook.


John Stott

We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.

Hudson Taylor

I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him to do His work through me.

Paul David Tripp

We forget that God’s primary goal ia not changing our situations or relationships so that we can be happy, but changing us through our situations and relationships so that we will be holy.

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change

Corrie Ten Boom

Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you. 


A.W. Tozer 

Let us practice the fine art of making every work a priestly ministration. Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find Him there.” 

The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine

Rick Warren

Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.” 

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?


Philip Yancey

I have come to know a God who has a soft spot for rebels, who recruits people like the adulterer David, the whiner Jeremiah, the traitor Peter, and the human-rights abuser Saul of Tarsus. I have come to know a God whose Son made prodigals the heroes of his stories and the trophies of his ministry.

Henri Nouwen

The mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of GOD…people who are so deeply in love with JESUS that they are ready to follow HIM wherever HE guides them.

Gracias: A Latin American Journal (New York: Harper & Row, 1983), 20.

Mark E. Van Houten

No matter how adept an exegete a theologian is, . . . it is all for naught if he does not understand his contemporary audience.

Ancient Chinese Proverb

If your vision is for a year, plant wheat. 

If your vision is for ten years, plant trees. 

If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people.

Mark E. Van Houten

No matter how adept an exegete a theologian is, . . . it is all for naught if he does not understand his contemporary audience.

Henri Nouwen

Our task is to help people concentrate on the real but often hidden event of God’s active presence in their lives. Hence, the question that must guide all organizing activity in a parish is not how to keep people busy, but how to keep them from being so busy that they can no longer hear the voice of God who speaks in silence.

In The Way of the Heart

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