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Leadership

Why Faithfulness Matters in Ministry

We minister in a world where it’s tough to find faithfulness. People rarely want to commit to anything—even to a marriage, a church, or a job. I like how the Good News Bible paraphrases Proverbs 20:6: “Everyone talks about how loyal and faithful he is, but just try to find someone who really is!” (GNT).

It’s never enough to just talk about faithfulness. God calls all believers to be faithful—particularly those of us who lead others. God values our dependability, reliability, consistency, and trustworthiness over our talent.


He wants our ministry to be like Old Faithful. When you visit Yellowstone National Park, you don’t go to the biggest geyser in the park. You don’t look for the most beautiful one. You look for the one that’s the most dependable—Old Faithful. Every 27 minutes it’s going to spout. We should strive to have that kind of faithfulness as leaders. Being a faithful leader means: 

  • When we say we’re going to do something, we do it. 
  • We show up consistently, even when it’s inconvenient. 
  • We follow through on our promises. 
  • We maintain our integrity.
  • We prioritize reliability over seeking recognition or accolades. 

Faithfulness is critically important for leaders. Here are five important reasons why. 

  • To be like God. Of course, if this was the only reason, it would be enough. You can’t become a Christlike leader without learning faithfulness. God shows his faithfulness over and over throughout scripture.
    • He is faithful to save us (1 Corinthians 1:9).
    • He is faithful not to let us be tempted beyond our capacity (1 Corinthians 10:13).
    • He is faithful to forgive our sins (1 John 1:9).

In fact, the Bible tells us God’s faithfulness is pervasive; he is “faithful in all he does” (Psalm 33:4 NIV).

  • It’s a qualification for ministry. If you’re unfaithful, you have no business serving in ministry. Disloyal, uncommitted leaders don’t keep their word and can’t be trusted. Paul tells Timothy that faithfulness is the reason God placed him in ministry: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” (1 Timothy 1:12 NKJV).

    Paul also tells the church in Corinth that he sent them Timothy because of Timothy’s faithfulness. “That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go” (1 Corinthians 4:17 NLT).

    Then he tells Timothy, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2 CSB).

    Paul basically is saying, “God considers me faithful; he put me in ministry. I consider Timothy faithful; I put him in ministry. Now, Timothy, I want you to find other faithful people and move them into the ministry.”
  • It guarantees God’s blessing on our lives. If you want to experience God’s blessing in your life, start with faithfulness. Be faithful in the little things.

    The Bible says, “A faithful person will be richly blessed” (Proverbs 28:20 NIV). That’s a promise of God. You can count on it.

    In contrast, the Bible also says, “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint” (Proverbs 25:19 NKJV). Unfaithfulness causes problems.
  • It prepares us for leadership roles. When we’re selecting leaders from our congregation, the Bible tells us to look for people who have shown faithfulness regularly. For example, Paul says a qualification of being a deacon (or a servant of the church) is a proven track record of faithfulness (1 Timothy 3:10).

    Jesus himself describes the importance of faithfulness in leaders, saying: “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them” (Matthew 24:45 NLT).

    You’ve probably had experiences like this too. In my years pastoring Saddleback, many individuals approached me, hoping to be entrusted with leading a ministry. They wanted to be in charge. But they had no track record with us, so I wouldn’t just place them in leadership. The Bible tells us to look for a track record of faithfulness in leaders.
  • God will reward our faithfulness in heaven.  You see this clearly in the parable of the talents that Jesus shares in Matthew 25. You know the story. Two of the servants doubled their master’s investment, while the third one wasn’t responsible with what the master gave him. He simply buried what the master gave him. The consequences of his unfaithfulness were stark. The master took everything away from the unfaithful servant and tossed him into “the outer darkness.”

    But notice the reward that Jesus describes for the two faithful servants. He tells them, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy” (Matthew 25:21 CSB).

    I can’t think of a better epitaph on our lives than having Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” You don’t get that kind of reward because you were the best preacher, the most charismatic leader, or the most knowledgeable theologian. Jesus will tell you “well done” because you were the most faithful.

Our world may not value faithfulness, but Jesus does. It’s the most important trait you can develop as a ministry leader.

Are you serving Jesus faithfully? Will he one day say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant”?

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