In Paul’s first correspondence with Timothy he talks of those qualities befitting anyone who aspires to exercise oversight over the affairs of the church. The evangelist falls in this category and to him I will shade light on the qualities he must possess at the least, bearing in mind the temper of the work before him. It does not escape Paul’s attention that the serving minister must not be “a novice” but instead must be seasoned in the ways and things of God. A man’s life prior to his call may not be any bit spectacular but once he enlists to the work, he takes a path of ceaseless advancement; mentally and spiritually such that he can never feign ignorance in the matters of God. The nature of the work is such as to test a minister’s fitness both morally and spiritually. Any pretentious work will smolder away as smoking flax. If it gets rough, Demas and his associates will not abide the company of the hard-hitting Paul any longer and instead opt for easier paths.

The following qualities I have found needful for any ministry that will stand the fiery test of time:


God is looking for men who have rid themselves of listlessness and who study ways to make the ministry more efficient. “Every worker in the Master’s vineyard” will “study, plan, devise methods, to reach the people where they are.” These “do something out of the common course of things.” They are not the kind to shrink from responsibility; men of action who dare not substitute prayer for action. While praying that the Lord of the harvest “will send forth labourers into his harvest” they are quick to take up arms when the call comes “go work to day in my vineyard.” They have a higher sense of the sacredness of the work and “their works do follow them.” Success must attend such work since expecting much, they attempt much.

Mental Culture

A minister of God neglects mental culture at his own peril. The ministry cannot dispense with men of thought. The LORD has need of intelligent men and it becomes us to train body, mind and soul for His service. Charles Spurgeon implores you the worker to “mind your till, and till your mind.” An acute mind plans ahead, is independent in thought, will solve any difficulties that arise in the course of duty, is able to discriminate and has the ability to remember. Ministers are to be diligent in study, earnest in the acquisition of knowledge and continually advancing in spiritual matters. A minister’s chief study is the scripture which “is profitable … for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” “The cultivation of the intellect need not be prevented by poverty, humble origin, or unfavorable surroundings. Only let the moments be treasured. A few moments here and a few there, that might be frittered away in aimless talk; the morning hours so often wasted in bed; the time spent in traveling on trams or railway cars, or waiting at the station; the moments of waiting for meals, waiting for those who are tardy in keeping an appointment—if a book were kept at hand, and these fragments of time were improved in study, reading, or careful thought, what might not be accomplished.” An unforgiving Spurgeon will say that “Jesus Christ deserves the best men to preach his cross, and not the empty-headed and the shiftless.”

That said, a truly intelligent minister will maintain the simplicity of the gospel. Intelligent discourses do not turn men to Christ, the “foolishness” of the cross will.

Christian Dignity

The power of a minister’s message is in the life as lived. Many live such a wretched life that the truth is made unsavory to those who would otherwise be won to Christ. “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you.” It stings Paul to the core that men bring their nothingness into God’s work by the crooked witness of their lives. Failing to live up to their profession, the heathen and the rabid mob point to the checkered record of the ‘Christians’ lives with scorn. As a minister, you ought to live a well-ordered life characterized by conversation that is beyond reproach. Your arguments for the gospel may be unanswerable but it will only engender opposition, but a godly example is irresistible.

“A truly intelligent minister will maintain the simplicity of the gospel. Intelligent discourses do not turn men to Christ, the “foolishness” of the cross will.”

Cultured Speech

The message to be borne to the world has eternal consequences and therefore ought to be packaged so as to appeal to the understanding and impress the heart of the hearer. Ministers should seek perfection in speech. No minister of the gospel is abrupt, curt or blunt. “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man.” The truth ought to be spoken in love and with Christ-like sympathy. It is not enough simply to be right, that is the way of the pharisee. This however does not mean that the truth will not be spoken in its pointed severity, they should “never be afraid of raising the standard too high.” But tact must accompany any endeavor at truth. We must not only be agreeable to those who are faultless, but more especially to the poor, suffering and often struggling souls; those who are ever repenting and always overtaken in a fault. These despairing ones need an encouraging word.


The LORD’s work has nothing in it fit for weak, nerveless and easily discouraged men. True ministers must not cultivate the passive virtues to the neglect of the active virtues. Their energy should kindle enthusiasm amongst their peers. The demeanor should be such as to push the triumph of the cross of Christ. During the civil war, anyone bearing the banner of the Confederates or the Union was easy target for enemy fire, but the banner had to be held high till the last man fell or till planted on enemy ground to signal victory. The soldiers considered it an honor to bear the banner and would rush to seize it from the hand palsied by death. If men are capable of such aggressiveness in the pursuit of that which perishes, how much more ferociousness ought we to manifest toward the blood-stained banner of Christ?


“Whatever ‘call’ a man may pretend to have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to the ministry.” It is that simple. Holiness is the wholeness in the service of Christ. True holiness is manifest in an entire surrender of mind, heart, soul and strength, and an implicit faith in God amidst forbidding circumstances. Holy ministers take the name of Christ as their badge of distinction and their only authority. For a worker of God to be spiritually out of order is a calamity of massive proportions. By cherishing small defects of character, men could be rendered entirely useless for the work of God. It is a tragedy for the salt to lose its savour, “it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

Brave and true

Finally, a minister will not shun trial and responsibility in soul winning. He will play the man! Those of the true kind brave opposition, peril, loss and human suffering for the truth’s sake. These are not chocolate soldiers. They are the Hugh Latimers before Henry VIII, the John the Baptists before Herod. They have a duty to God and to men and their courage has made kings quail even at their lives’ own peril. Their zeal is the sanctified zeal and not the one belied by Jehu of old. “In peace true soldiers are captive lions, fretting in their cages. War gives them their liberty and sends them, like boys bounding out of school, to obtain their heart’s desire or perish in the attempt. Battle is the soldier’s vital breath! Peace turns him into a stooping asthmatic. War makes him a whole man again, and gives him the heart, strength, and vigour of a hero.” “At a certain battle, when one of the regiments of the attacking force was being beaten back by the hordes of the enemy, the ensign in front stood his ground as the troops retreated. The captain shouted to him to bring back the colors, but the reply of the ensign was: “Bring the men up to the colors!” Such is the true position of the evangelist.


It will do us good to examine ourselves as to “whether we can endure brow-beating, weariness, slander, jeering, and hardship; and whether we can be made the off-scouring of all things, and be treated as nothing for Christ’s sake.” If we can endure the whole nine yards of it, then it goes to indicate that we possess some of the rare qualities which should meet in a true servant of Christ.
Remember though that even at our best, there will still be men, of the subversive type, who will direct their mean efforts towards our individual imperfections rather than the divine message we bear. Let us not be discouraged by such for we “by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report” preach Christ. We ought to pray instead that they will emulate Elizabeth Singer who, while rejecting Isaac Watt’s marriage proposal, loved the jewel, but admired not the casket which contained it.


  • C.H. Spurgeon, Lectures to my Students, Vol. 1
  • Christian Service, Chapter 24
  • C. T. Studd, The Chocolate Soldier
  • Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9 p. 46-47
  • II Timothy 3:16,17
  • Christ’s Object Lessons, Chapter 25