Updated: Nov 9, 2019
What work would you attempt to do for God with your unique talents, skills, gifts, and abilities if you knew you couldn’t fail?
Your answer to that question could change your life and impact future generations. I know this is true, because it changed my life, as well several of my coaching clients, who all decided to “step out of the boat” to pursue our God-given dream to do what we love and get paid for it.
The problem is, most people rather run away from their God-given dreams instead of towards them, because either…
• They’re afraid of the dream. • They don’t know where to start. • They’re afraid of making mistakes or • They don’t think they have the right resources.
In other words, they’re afraid to “step out of the boat.”
Mark Batterson, author of the best-selling book, “Chase the Lion” said it best:
“The purpose of life wasn’t to simply arrive at death safely. Our dreams should scare us. They should be so big that without God, they would be impossible to achieve.”
But what if I told you that loving God isn’t enough to fulfill the calling He has on your life.
Yes, you need God to achieve the impossible, but the calling He has on your life is impossible for you to achieve alone. You need help. Even Jesus needed the disciples to help spread the gospel, and he was perfect (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
However, fear causes people to feel trapped between a paycheck and a promise from God, afraid to live a life that’s bigger than what they are currently experiencing. They might have a big dream in their hearts, but they spend their time working hard just to pay the bills.
Those of us who’ve answered God’s call to pursue “paid ministry” realize that it’s not just a step of faith, but a step-by-step process of transitioning that requires strategy, skill, and support. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you can always walk on water – IF you know HOW to walk, WHERE to step, and WHO can help you (Proverbs 15:22).
So, here’s another life-changing, generation-altering question:
If you died today, what ideas, dreams, abilities, talents, and gifts would die with you?
God made you on purpose for a purpose, and He wants you to fulfill that purpose; and He won’t get mad if you get paid for it, as long as you don’t use or abuse that purpose. Think of the parable of the man who was given five talents and invested them and the man who wasted the one talent he was given (Matthew 25:14-30).
Stop feeling guilty about the money side of ministry. Money is NOT the root of all evil; it’s the LOVE of money (1 Timothy 6:10). Anything you choose to LOVE more than God is at the root of all kinds of evil, not just money. Your motives matter!
When it comes to ministry and money, one sure way to examine your heart is to ask yourself, “Would I be willing to do and pursue this calling, vision, and dream for free?”
If the answer is “No,” then it’s probably the wrong vision or you’re pursuing it for the wrong reasons. It might be a good idea, but it’s probably not a God idea.
The fact that you’re reading this article, I believe God has chosen you to be a person of influence. Don’t get me wrong, I believe everyone is capable of influencing the kingdom, but not everyone has been called (Matthew 22:14).
That being said, faith without works is not only dead, it’s dumb. You must not only do the work necessary (in faith) to become a person of kingdom influence, but you must also learn to master the necessary strategies to unleash your gifts and influence in the world.
It’s time to live your life by design, not by default. When you live by design, you’ll never have to labor again, because the work you do won’t feel like a job; it’ll be a joy. But if you choose to live by default, you’ll be uninspired, bored, and unfulfilled. Why? Because you’ll be living disconnected from God. When that happens, you miss out on the inspiration and information you need to live in alignment with your purpose.
But the great news is that living by divine design and getting paid to do it isn’t rocket science. You were made in the image of our Creator, so that means you already have what it takes, you just need the right support along your journey.
So, if you’re ready, here are 5 Things you need to do immediately to turn your passion for ministry into a full-time paycheck.
1. You Need to Find Your Focus:
The Bible says that without a vision the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). But likewise, a vision without a focus will eventually fail.
Whenever someone tells me they have a desire to pursue ministry full time, the first question I ask them is, “Who’s your “target market?”
After they look at me sideways, I rephrase the question by asking, “Who do you want to help?” They usually respond, “I want to help everybody.” And I usually cringe when I hear this, because although their intentions are good, I know they’re either going to struggle in ministry or go broke trying to survive in ministry.
God didn’t call you to ministry to help everybody, He called you to ministry so you would help and serve somebody. And that somebody is usually a specific group of people He’s given you an affinity and burden for who needs your unique talents, gifts, and skillset.
For instance, Jesus could have helped everybody, but he didn’t. Instead, Jesus focused on WHO he was sent to serve: the brokenhearted, oppressed, poor in spirit, and those in bondage who recognized their need for a savior (Luke 4:18). You need more than just faith in ministry, you need a focus in ministry.
Who specifically has God called you to help and serve? Who does your heart break for? How do they feel? What do they struggle with? What do they all have in common?
If your focus is unclear or too broad, and if you try to reach everybody, you’ll eventually struggle to reach anybody.
2. You Need to Prepare an Action Plan:
Not only must you be clear on WHO you’ve been called to serve, you need to know HOW and WHERE to reach them and HOW to attract them. This means you need to prepare a strategic action plan.
By the way, hoping and waiting on the Lord is NOT a plan. While you’re waiting on the Lord, God is expecting you to study, strategize, serve, and prepare to take the next necessary step when you hear His voice. You have to be ready for an opportunity if you ever want to take advantage of one.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”
You can have the greatest book since Rick Warren’s “Purpose Drive Life,” or the best course since Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University,” but if you don’t have a strategic action plan on how to market, monetize, and multiply your message so people will know about it, your impact and income will be minimized or at best, limited.
I’m not talking about a business plan, but rather an action plan. A business plan tells others where you want to go; but an action plan is how you intend to get there. You only need a business plan if you plan to get a loan or sell the business, not to run a successful ministry and get paid for it.
Having no strategic action plan for marketing your services, selling your products, supporting your customers/clients, and creating content could cost you unnecessary time, money, and frustration.
When I launched our Real Men Connect Podcast just over two years ago, I had an action plan for the launch of the show, the marketing of the show, acquiring guests, and for reaching my target audience. No, it wasn’t a perfect plan, but within 16 months, we became the #1 podcast on iTunes for Christian men (in the world).
Franklin was right, if you don’t have an action plan, you’re planning to fail. I wouldn’t even think about pursuing full-time ministry without one.
3. You Need to Recruit the Right Coach:
I’m often asked, “How were you able to successfully grow Real Men Connect as a non-profit, launch a podcast, create a blog, and reach and disciple so many men across the world for Christ so quickly?” Other than by the grace of God, there was one critical component: I had the right coach. In fact, I had several coaches when I first got started.
I had a coach to train me on how to start, set up, and grow an organization; I had a coach to train me on how to successfully launch a radio podcast; I had a coach show me how to create a blog; I had a coach who trained me on how to skillfully disciple and mentor men; and I even had a coach show me how to grow a successful social community on Facebook.
As I look back, I can’t think of any aspect of my ministry that I didn’t receive input or advice from a coach.
The problem is, most people who have a vision for ministry think hearing God’s call to ministry is enough. It’s not enough. God’s call is just the beginning; but you need wisdom and discernment in finding the right coaches who can help you get to where you want to go.
A friend once asked me, “If someone has what you want, how come they’re not coaching you on how they got it? He was right, so from that point on, I decided to use a simple formula for ministry: Ask (someone with more experience to help me) + Get Answers (listen to their advice) + Take Action (apply what they teach me) = and Trust God (with the results).
But it all starts with recruiting the right coach. Why try to figure it out on your own if someone already has? Experience may be a good teacher, but the tuition is always cheaper when you learn from other people’s experience.
Creating a blog, launching a podcast, building a website, hosting live events, booking speaking engagements, and writing books aren’t enough if you don’t invest the time and money in learning to do it the right way the first time; otherwise, you’ll waste time and money making unnecessary mistakes.
4. You Need to Put Feet to Your Faith:
It’s one thing to know you need a coach to help you save time and money and reduce your learning curve, but it’s another thing to actually put your money where your faith is by hiring one. That’s exactly what I did; by faith, I invested in myself and my vision.
I believe this is where most Christians fall short when it comes to turning their love for ministry into a full-time paycheck. They’re not willing to invest in themselves. Instead, they expect to “pick other people’s brains” and piece meal together the advice, ideas, and strategies of others until they “succeed.” Could you imagine trying to get a college degree that way? Learning how to become a doctor, lawyer, accountant, engineer, or other professional?
Some people even think and expect that other fellow Christians should be willing to give and share their wisdom for free. But how do you think most of those coaches and “gurus” got their wisdom? That’s right, they paid for it, either in time, money, or both.
So, they’re not being selfish by not giving their wisdom away for free; they’re being smart. And more than likely, the wisdom they’ll share with you will be worth far more than what you paid for it; at least it was for me.
When Araunah offered King David a threshing floor and oxen for free so he could build God an altar, David told Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24)
How can you expect God to bless a vision he gave you if you’re not willing to invest time, money, and energy in attaining the wisdom, tools, skills, ideas, and strategies needed to insure your successful pursuit of the vision?