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Understanding Sonship in Ministry

Sonship in Ministry
Photo Credit: Idomavoice

One subject that is grossly misunderstood among the clergy is this thing called Sonship in Ministry. Some wolves in sheep clothing have messed it up so much that many genuine ministers of the gospel who need mentorship or fatherhood are confused and reluctant to approach anyone for mentorship and fatherhood. This post will clear the air so that anyone genuinely looking for mentorship or fatherhood will understand what is expected of him as a son as well as the father. Now let’s get started.


Sonship in ministry is God’s idea. It’s not the will of God that anyone should be an island in ministry. God is a God of systems and order. One of the systems through which God raises genuine and lasting ministers of the gospel is through fatherhood and sonship in ministry.  All through the scriptures from the Old Testament to the New Testament, we can clearly see the examples of Sonship in ministry. When you look at the relationship between Elijah and Elisha, between Moses and Joshua, between Elisha and Gehazi, Between Elisha and the Sons of the Prophets, between Apostle Paul and Timothy, and many others, you will see Sonship in ministry vividly expressed.


A Spiritual father is a mentor, a life coach, a teacher, feeder, helper, manager, supporter, leader, role model, and path-finder who provides spiritual coverage, support, and tutelage to his or her spiritual son to enable him to become successful in the ministry that God has given to him.  A spiritual father doesn’t have to be older than you before he can become your spiritual father. Fatherhood and sonship in ministry is an election of grace and not a matter of age. You can be more educated, financially, and socially advanced than your spiritual father, it doesn’t matter. Your spiritual father can be your blood brother, Uncle, Cousin, neighbor, classmate, a colleague at work, it doesn’t matter. As long as you don’t see or relate with him only on the basis of familiarity but on spirituality and respect for the anointing and the enormous position he occupies in your life, you are good to go. Now hear this, you don’t choose who will be your spiritual father by yourself, God is the one who chooses and appoints a spiritual father for you. The Bible says,

I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.  Jer 3:15

Just like you can't choose who your physical father should be, that's how it is regarding spiritual fatherhood. You can choose who your wife or husband will be, but you don’t have your own choice when it comes to your father. You didn’t choose him, God chose him for you. Whether you like him or not, he is your father and God knows why among all the men in the world that’s the man He chose to father you. You need to understand this thing. You can’t just say let me approach Pastor Chris to become my spiritual father because I like the way he preaches. No, you need to pray and find out from God if he is the man God has ordained to father you in ministry. A spiritual father cannot be chosen, he is given by God.  And if he is given by God then he is a gift from God to you. You may not like him, but he is the man God has given to feed you with knowledge and understanding so that you can be established in life and ministry. A father is a ladder you need to climb farther in life and ministry.


A Spiritual son is a new believer or minister of the gospel whom you preached to and led to Christ. A son is someone from your spiritual loins. He is that new believer whom you have nurtured, groomed, trained, and mentored to become a man of God and mature Christian ready now to disciple others in the ways of the Lord. It is very sad how some people call everyone their son, even those whom they have bestowed no spiritual labor. You don’t get a son by the word of the mouth. You give birth to a son. Timothy, Titus, and Philemon among others were all spiritual sons of Apostle Paul. He preached to them, led them to Christ, and hence became their spiritual father. Hear what Paul said,
For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 1 Cor 4:15

Just like in the physical, you can have a son by giving birth to him or by adoption, spiritually the same principles apply. You can have a spiritual son either by preaching the gospel to him and leading him to salvation in Christ or by adoption. Your adopted spiritual son is someone you didn’t lead to salvation in Christ but whom God gave to you to nurture, mentor, teach and groom to become a perfect man and success in life and ministry.

Sonship in Ministry
Photo Credit: NaijaGospel


There are many things some fathers do in regards to sonship in ministry which are wrong from what biblical sonship is all about. Some of the errors of the fathers towards their sons in ministry are as follows:

1.  The Mindset that the son owes it as a duty to give his money to the father.

This is a very big error I have seen today among some of our fathers and it must be corrected. Your spiritual son does not owe it as an obligation to give you his money any time and anyhow you want it. As a father, you don’t have any right to force or demand how much your son should be giving you every month. Some fathers have pushed their sons into greed and doing all manner of evil to get money to sponsor their lusts. It is an error.

2.  Another error of the fathers is disrespecting an elder who is old enough to be their biological father in the name of sonship.

Sir/Ma, sonship does not give you any right to abuse, insult, molest or humiliate your elders. If someone who is old of enough submits to you as a son, it is a privilege given to you by God. Please don’t abuse it. Somewhere in Abuja, one so-called Pastor flogged an old man who is old enough to be his biological father in the name of sonship. That’s a very big error. The same man demands that his sons should kneel down for him whenever he is passing by. I don’t know where he learned this wickedness from. Jesus never asked anyone to kneel down for him when he is passing by. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ never flogged any of his disciples with a cane. Disrespecting the elders is one big error of the fathers and must be corrected.

3. Turning their Sons into domestic servants.

Another error of the fathers is turning their spiritual son into a domestic servant. It is not wrong if your spiritual son out of his own free will chooses to come to your house to sweep your room for you or wash your clothes. However, if you make it compulsory that he must do those domestic works for you, that’s an abuse of sonship. He is a spiritual son and not your domestic servant.


There are many things some sons do that are totally wrong and unethical as long as sonship in ministry is concerned. Some of them are:

1. The sons look at a father as someone that will give them money to start their ministry.

This is an error of the sons. Your father in the Lord may not necessarily give you money to start your ministry. But his grace, instructions, blessings, and prayers can take you to a height that money cannot take you to in ministry. Jesus never gave any of his disciples money to start their ministry. He gave them power. The idea of coming to look for a spiritual father with the motive of getting money from him to start your ministry is an error. Fathers don’t give money, they give wisdom and knowledge. And they also provide spiritual coverage and grace that money cannot buy.

2.  The error of reducing humility and respect to only carrying their father’s bible and lying prostrate before them.

You don’t need to carry your father’s bible any time he wants to preach to prove that you love and respect him. If you carry his bible, will you also carry his anointing or the word he will preach? You don’t need to roll on the floor any time he is coming to prove that you are loyal to him. These things are not what ministry is all about. Elisha never rolled on the floor for Elijah. Joshua never carried Moses’s staff for him. You need to love and respect your father from the depth of your heart. When it is genuine and rooted in your heart, words, and actions, your father will know even without you carrying his bible or rolling on the floor for him.

4. Another error of the sons is Greed.

Some sons want to start ministry today and ride limousine like the fathers tomorrow. They forget that every glory has a story. They forget that the success of the fathers was not attained by a sudden flight but by consistent pursuit and sacrifices over the years for the result to show. It is not bad for a son to desire to be like the father or even better than the father, but it’s an error when the son wants to have the result of the father and not being willing to pay the price or follow due process. Gehazi would have been Elisha’s successor but he lost his ministry and got leprosy for himself and his entire generation because of greed for material wealth. This error must be corrected.

5. Betrayal is a big error of the sons.

Judas Iscariot would have been another powerful Apostle whose teachings and writings we would have been reading today in the bible but he lost his ministry and his life from betraying his master. There are sons you can’t take abroad to preach. Because if you do, not only will they blackmail you, they will make sure you don’t go there anymore to preach. There are sons you can’t invite to preach in your church, they will at your back steal your flock.  Many sons have criticized and badmouthed the fathers who took them up, cleaned them, and helped them when they were nobody. Betrayal is a big error of many sons in ministry today.

Spiritual Duties of the Fathers to their sons

  • Fathers should teach their sons the fundamental truth of the bible and secrets for success in life and ministry.
  • Fathers should model the lifestyle of Jesus Christ so that the sons should follow in their footsteps.
  • Fathers should pray and intercede for their sons to provide spiritual coverage for them.
  • Fathers should supervise and monitor what their sons are doing and provide advice and instructions where necessary.
  • Fathers should create enabling environment for their sons to grow and get more exposure for ministry.
  • Fathers should rebuke, correct and discipline their sons when they deviate from the right path.
  • Fathers should encourage their sons and support them especially during hard times and at the early stages of ministry.


  • The primary duty of the sons is to reflect the success and greatness of their father in their own ministry -John 15:5.
  • The duty of the sons is to honor their father- Mal 1:6.
  • It is the duty of sons to defend and protect their father’s nakedness-Gen 9:23.
  • It is the duty of the sons to give to their father freely and cheerfully-Heb 7:7.
  • It is the duty of sons to believe in the grace of the father-2 Chron 20:20.
  • It is the duty of the sons to love their father.
  • It is the duty of the sons to be loyal to their father.
  • It is the duty of the sons to respect their father’s wife and interests.
  • It is the duty of the sons to praise and promote their father publicly.
  • It is the duty of the sons to visit their father from time to time.

Sonship in ministry is very crucial because it helps to raise men of substance for the kingdom. However, it has it be done the right way for the good result to show.  Whether you are a father or son, you will need to make sacrifices and deny yourself certain things to really impact the life of that man or woman God has given to you. His grace is sufficient for us. Do you need a spiritual father? Pray today and ask God to lead and direct you on whom to meet to father you. And as God speaks, don’t waste any time, reach out to that person and ask him to be your spiritual father. You will be surprised to see how that relationship will change your life and ministry for good. God bless you.

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