A few years ago an intern asked me this question: what is the key to success in ministry? And he qualified it: in two words. Nice! For the record, I see success and stewardship as synonymous. It's not about how big your church is. It's about doing the best you can with what you have where you are. It's about cultivating your God-given gifts and using them to glorify God.
Here are five "two word" answers:
1) Keep Learning
When you stop learning you stop leading. I never want to become a closed system. If you keep learning you cannot fail. Why? Because failure is not learning the lessons God is trying to teach you. If you learned something you did not fail.
2) Take Risks
Playing it safe is risky. I'm more afraid of missing opportunities than making mistakes. I think that is a leadership mindset. You obviously need to discern if they are God-ordained. But our greatest regrets will be the lions we did not chase!
3) Stay Humble
This one is huge. Don't let pride take root in your heart. I'm so grateful for a failed church plant on my resume because it's a constant reminder that "unless the Lord builds the house they who labor, labor in vain." If you stay humble there is nothing God cannot do in you and through you.
4) Dream Big
The size of your dream reveals the size of your faith. More faith = bigger dreams. I'm convinced that God-sized dreams are one key to spiritual growth. God-sized dreams force you to live on your knees in raw dependence upon God. Live your life in a way that requires divine intervention.
5) Be Yourself
You need to come to terms with who you are and who you aren't. Ten years ago I was trying to be a pastor. I'm now trying to be myself. And there is a difference. Life is too short and ministry is too hard to be in an environment where you can't give true expression to your unique gifts, personality, and calling.
I'm obviously making a lot of assumptions here. For example, spiritual growth is all about becoming more and more like Jesus. That's a given. And I'm assuming a strong devotional life that includes prayer and Bible study. So these five tips are "beyond basics" if you will.