While studying the first 9 verses of Mark's Gospel in recent visits I began to understand some of the dynamics involved in John the Baptist's ministry. Then when I read verse 14 I got an even fuller picture.
A cross reference to Mark 6:14-29 amplified this further. The focus I came up with was: The Dynamics of Ministry. This focus was amplified by three points: the routine in ministry, the highs in ministry and the lows in ministry. In Mark 1:1-8 you find that the routine aspects of ministry involve making sure you are Biblically based; that is, doing what you do because the Bible says you should be doing it. It is also "need oriented."
In John's case, all of the people were sinners and needed to repent and then be baptized as an outward symbol of their heart's repentance. We can find plenty of needs around us, so meditate on God's Word to determine which of those needs God wants us to tackle.
To be dynamic and effective, ministry must also be Christ focused. John talked about the one who was coming who was more powerful than anyone else. It was this focus that set the stage for Christ's baptism, which had to be the ultimate high in John's ministry. This, however, was followed by the inevitable low when John was put in prison. The ultimate low was when he was beheaded by the fickle request of the king's daughter as described in Mark 6.
Many of us as we minister want the excitement of the highs, and try to avoid the lows, but have a hard time being faithful in the routine -- meeting the needs around us in a Biblical way, with a desire to honor Jesus Christ in all we do.
May God help us be faithful in what He calls us to do, no matter what the circumstances, demands or outcomes.