Achieving Ministerial Excellence (AME)
by: Dr. Delbert W. Baker

A Self-Development Tool for Twenty-First-Century Christian Leaders

As the twenty-first century approaches, the gospel ministry in general, and Seventh-day Adventist ministry in particular, is under increasing scrutiny. On the one hand there is question about ministerial preparedness in providing direction and spiritual leadership for the new millennium. On the other hand, there is question about the relevancy of the Advent message and how well it can meet the new millennial challenges. Put another way, the question can be phrased, "How well is ministry facilitating preparation for the soon coming of Jesus Christ?"
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The great commission given by Christ--"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world"--remains a central focus of ministry. However, in light of changing paradigms, the "how-to" of ministry dynamic begs additional examination and assessment.

Assessment

One way to get at the answer about ministry and its effectiveness is to challenge ministers and Christian workers to evaluate and assess themselves in light of the demands and needs of ministerial excellence. If ministers and Christian workers are challenged to honestly examine the gospel commission, confirm that it is an achievable goal, reaffirm the strategy needed to realize that goal, and identify and access resources to facilitate the achievement of the goal, then they are on the way to developing the tools necessary to realize a dynamic and effective ministry.

Ellen G. White (1827-1915), SDA pioneer, leader, and writer, penned literally thousands of pages of counsel for ministers and gospel workers in this very area of evaluation and assessment. Classic among her work is the chapter "A Consecrated Ministry," in the book The Acts of the Apostles [*--link to full chapter text in resource document]. A careful reading of this insightful chapter addresses the challenges of evaluation and assessment. "A Consecrated Ministry" provides a thorough and penetrating insight on the essentials for a spiritual, productive, Bible-centered ministry--how to achieve ministerial excellence--in the twenty-first century.

This Leadership Document on Command (LDOC) module is designed to create from the chapter "A Consecrated Ministry" an innovative inventory tool to facilitate spiritual growth and excellence in ministry, called Achieving Ministerial Excellence (AME). This ministerial leadership document is designed to prepare one for assertive leadership for Christ in the twenty-first century, as well as the crucial task of assisting one in preparation for the second coming of Christ. Therefore, the AME document is designed to be both practical and interactive.

Achieving Ministerial Excellence

This module is divided into 31 segments. Each segment is assigned a key leadership principle or skill for success in ministry that ties in with the content of the lead paragraph and the subsequent Bible reference taken from the Clear Word Bible paraphrase. Each segment contains the following components: Principle Focus defines the ministry skill under examination--the reader is encouraged to review this skill in light of his or her experience; Scriptural Foundation provides a relevant Bible passage(s) that illustrates the highlighted skill and/or gives insights as to how one may incorporate it into his/her ministry--the reader is encouraged to carefully study the passage for practical applications; Behavior Outcomes provides hypothetical examples of how one may model this skill in his/her ministry; Personal Assessment provides a likert-like question that allows for thought and self-assessment--this provides the reader with an opportunity to honestly evaluate his/her ministry or Christian service; Action Plan is the opportunity for concrete and specific action follow-through. All effective assessment should result in a specific plan for self-improvement and betterment. This happens when one deliberately writes out ways to implement a particular desired behavior. Finally, the Meditation is a prayer theme that one may use in petitioning God for this skill to be realized in ones ministry.

It is to be understood that this inventory is only a tool! Success in ministry is realized through cooperation with the Holy Spirit. This happens through prayer. The power of the Holy Spirit combines with the dedicated efforts of a consecrated follower who has a personal relationship with Christ, and thus true success is attained.

So it is the intent of the AME to aid in that process of self-development, the heart of true service to God and man. The following 31challenges, possible to complete within a month or less, outline a strategy that, with personal effort empowered by the Holy Spirit, will result in excellence and greater success and satisfaction in ministry.

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To reach excellence in an effective, Spirit-filled ministry, God's leaders need to develop and nurture the following characteristics:

Contents
I. Foundational Characteristics 16. A Winsome Network
1. Unselfish Initiative 17. A REAL Appraoch
2. A Service Motivation V. Advisable Strategies
3. A Providential Confidence 18. Ministerial Commitment
II. Requisite Expertise 19. Professional Priority
4. Role Clarity 20. An Effective Defense
5. A Watchman's Modus Operandi 21. Delayed Gratification Lifestyle
6. A SoulWinner's Perspective VI. Growth Capacity
7. A Tenacious Endurance 22. Pastoral Passion
8. PowerSource Sensitivities 23. Organizational Methods
9. Spiritual Disciplines 24. Mentor Maker
III. Indispensable Habits 25. Ministerial Accountability
10. A Compelling Vision 26. Lifelong Learnability
11. Habitual Faith 27. Personal Management
12. ValuesCharacter Discernment VII. Leadership Vision
13. Effectual FollowThrough 28. A Possibility Mindset
IV. Technical Proficiencies 29. An Altruistic Motivation
14. A Witnessing Strategy 30. An Eternity Outlook
15. Core Competencies 31. A Divine/Human Partnership

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