The Leader Is the Feeder™
By Dr. Debora C. Hooper, http://www.deborahooper.com
One of the most extraordinary things about being a minister is that you must always be open to [hear] the voice of the Lord. While those in other professions look primarily to their mentors and professors for instruction and direction, ministers must seek the Lord, through prayer and Bible study, and then wait patiently for His voice to lead them.
While preparing to minister to a group of Bible students recently about how I develop a biblical text and what ministry resources I use to do so, I heard the Lord say, "The Leader is the Feeder"™. As I meditated upon those words, I understood my assignment more clearly. What I believe the Lord wanted me to impress upon them, and you as well, is that as ministers, we are leaders. We lead by precept and example, and because we are godly leaders, we are held in high regard and with the awesome task to "feed the flock of God". Thus, it is our duty to do whatever is necessary to fulfill our God-given assignment with all diligence. Truly people's lives hang in the balance! Let us take a look at some resources that can help us "study to show ourselves approved unto God".
For starters, you can't lead unless you feed and you can't feed unless you read! The "feeding minister" must constantly read in order to sharpen his ministry ability and stay current on things that are relevant to the times. Anytime a minister is dull, or in the dark on modern subjects, so is his audience. (Have you not heard? "As the leader goes, so goes the house" Bishop Charles H. Ellis, III.) Reading materials must be purchased in order to build your minister's library, but so that you don't become overwhelmed financially in doing so, you can involve your family and friends, especially during the holiday season. Instead of buying you the usual pair of gloves, suit, tool set, or dvd player for Christmas, invite them to play a more integral part in your life by purchasing suggested books for your ministry. For ministers, many times it is a choice between a new suit and a new Bible but, if you're wise and choose the Bible, (you can get the suit later) here is what you are looking for.
Choosing a Bible: Most ministers own several Bibles, but the primary one is usually a King James Version. Regardless of its archaic writing, it's still a universal standard. Purchase one printed on acid-free paper with quality binding to ensure its longevity. Also, invest in a good study Bible (Key Word Study Bible, AMG Publishers) which contains both Old and New Testaments, cross-references, a concordance, lexical aids, dictionaries, and maps. There are other versions (NIV) and translations (Good News) to choose from but as I explained in my book, there are differences between the two, so proceed with caution. In addition, consider adding these exciting Bibles to your library: Reese Chronological Bible and Eight Translations of the New Testament.
Choosing a Concordance: Having trouble finding a scripture? Use a concordance. This large book lists every word in the Bible in alphabetical order and then directs you to where the scripture is located. Consider any exhaustive concordance written by one of these three persons: Cruden, Strong, or Young.
Choosing a Commentary: Want to know what comments biblical scholars have made about a particular text? Read a commentary. These books (usually in hardcover) range from elementary to scholarly and come in one or 20 or more volumes! Make your choice and stock your library with some of these: Matthew Henry, Pulpit, Barnes Notes, Tyndale, Expositor's Bible and my favorite, The Complete Biblical Library.
Choosing a Bible Dictionary: Need some Greek and Hebrew References? You can't go wrong with Basics of Biblical Greek and Grammar (W. Mounce) and Biblical Hebrew, An Introductory Grammar (P. Kelley). In addition, use a Bible dictionary instead of a regular one for the correct meaning of a biblical word. Zondervan's Pictorial Bible Dictionary and Unger's Bible Dictionary are very useful.
Choosing Bible Software: More work space you say? You can fit all your books on your desk and take them with you too if you consider purchasing Bible software. There are several available but my long-time favorite is the Logos Library System. Resources on this electronic system contain over 200 to 400 books that go right onto your computer and more are accessible! Several packages to choose from are available for both beginning and seasoned ministers. See and enjoy a demonstration of the system at www.logos.com.
Choosing Christian Magazines: When it comes to magazines and newspapers, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe! Magazines like Charisma, Ministry Today, and Christianity Today are quite popular but so are these free, on-line magazines which have thousands of readers: Pastorstoday.com, ChristianityToday.com and Black Gospel Promo especially, for upcoming leadership conferences and events. Of course, don't forget your local newspaper, and The New York Times, for international news.
We'll have to pause here, but I do hope this information was helpful and will inspire you to build your ministry into one of excellence. Remember, "The Leader is the Feeder."™ So, continue to feed your mind and spirit so that the Lord can continue to use you as a ministry leader! Blessings for a Prosperous and Happy New Year!
*Excerpts of this article have been taken from Hooper's Evangelist & Minister's Handbook, www.deborahooper.com. Dr. Debora Hooper is the Pastor of Greater Works Worship Center, located in Brooklyn, NY. For ministry invites, questions and comments, please contact Dr. Hooper at: