New-covenant ministers, essentially, can do only two things for others. First, we can help remove obstacles that are keeping people from carrying out what is written in their hearts and in their minds. These obstacles can be fears, misconceptions, habits, strongholds. Through love and witness, a minister can help remove these barriers and open the way for faith to operate freely. Second, we can help provide opportunities for God’s people to do what they have already been programmed to do by their new birth. Looking at ministry in light of these two tasks helps shed light on how best to minister without manipulation. It is not wrong, for example, for ministers to give us opportunities for service. Christians needed to be challenged to do what is in their hearts to do – to believe, to serve, to give. Placing opportunities in front of others is not necessarily manipulation. Only when the inner person is sacrificed to external behavior does manipulation replace ministry. Manipulation is playing God. That is a tiring and exasperating experience; you are just not equipped for it. If you fall into the habit of relying on manipulation in the service of ministry, your energy level will not hold out. In the long run, you cannot be successful. Ministry, on the other hand, is following God, immersing yourself in the reality of the gospel of grace and responding to his leadership as you lead others.
Grace Works, Vine Books, 1992, 198.