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rdv
Member



Joined: 2005/9/3
Posts: 13


 Question

How does one know if God has called them to the ministry in general or to a specific time and place? And how does free will play in this?

"any man who DESIRES the position of an overseer....."

 2005/9/3 16:25Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: Question

Wow! What a great question! Unfortunately, there are no magic formulas. There are entire books written on this important subject. For now, I'll say that as we surrender our lives to Christ, he will guide us by his Spirit. Perhaps you could start by reading through the gospels and carefully examining the words of Jesus, asking for divine direction.

I see you are new on this site. Welcome!

Perhaps if you share a bit about yourself, and why you are asking this question, we may be able to help you out. We'd love to get to know you.
Diane





_________________
Diane

 2005/9/3 17:15Profile
rdv
Member



Joined: 2005/9/3
Posts: 13


 Re:

This is a question that has been on my mind for years as I know that I have been called to Minister. And each time a new decision is to be made it comes again, I was hoping that others who have experianced this could give wisdom.

 2005/9/3 17:32Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: hearing God's calling

I can only express some thoughts by share something about myself.
Through experiences I learned that God’s calling doesn’t necessarily fit into my expectations. As a teen I felt a strong call to be a missionary. The sense was so strong that I carefully wrote down my impressions. Then after I got married we went to the mission field. However before the term was up my husband decided that it was not for him and he resigned. I was devastated – feeling that I had disobeyed God’s will. But I couldn’t do anything about it. We were labeled “Missionary casualties” – a sure sign of failure. However, leaving turned out to be the will of God. He had something else planned that I could not foresee or comprehend.

Quote:
And each time a new decision is to be made it comes again,

Yes, I can relate to this. But, even years later, I still don't know where I am going with it - no tidy packages for me, it seems.

Some years later I found that very piece of paper on which I had written my calling as a teen. To my surprise, I had not used the word, “missionary”. I simply had written about my passion to lead souls to Christ. Then later I falsely assumed that I had written "missionary", meaning that I was to be a career missionary, (as we use the word – ex: sign up with a mission board, raise funds, etc)

I probably am not the only one who has tried to box spiritual concepts into our modern day usage of words. For example: The calling to be a minister/pastor. We assume that to mean a position in a church, getting a salary, preaching weekly sermons. However, according to the Biblical teaching we are all called to be ministers of reconciliation. The calling to preach the gospel is not just those few who go to college and get a divinity degree. God knows, we need those roles in every day life and society - those who have Christ’s love within them and are called and divinely enabled to reach the lives of people who don’t go to church, and even those who do.

I have discovered many dear Christians who, through years of walking close with God are true elders, pastors, or teachers, even though they may not have those labels and positions in church or a mission board. Some of them have minstered more to me than "professional" pastors.

I have learned that where God calls us, he also leads us, and it may be just a step at a time, and may even seem unrelated.

THe most important aspect of our calling involves BEING more than DOING - being conformed to Christ. Then the rest just falls into place - but differently, for each person.

Does any of that relate at all with the concerns that you expressed?

Diane


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Diane

 2005/9/3 20:39Profile
dann
Member



Joined: 2005/2/16
Posts: 239
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

 Re: Question

Contrary to the current christian culture - scripture doesn't teach that only some are "called to ministry" - in fact it doesn't teach that -ANY- are called to ministry.

What scripture does teach is that we are called to follow Jesus Christ.

That may seem a bit backwards in the modern church - since we have elevated the calling of a pastor to the pulpit as though the bible taught such a thing. Scripture makes it plain that Jews were born into the priesthood - and that becoming a priest, was not a something that men chose for themselves - but something that God assigned to men.

But the new testament teaches that all of us are now priests. We are all called to follow Christ, and presumably we are all called to ministry.

The role of a teacher however is special - what we would call a preacher in today's vernacular. James warns that those who teach will receive a greater judgment (since any error in their doctrine is passed on to those who listen) so we have that as a restriction - and the way the admonition is given suggests that the mantle of teacher is something any of us can put on or take off at will - that is, when I have the opportunity to instruct - I should consider the consequences carefully before I do so.

If one insists on being mystical about it, one can note that not everyone is gifted to preach, and one can rest in the secure knowledge that if one is gifted to preach, everyone around him will know it, and God wouldn't give the gift unless he expected the person to use it.

It is my opinion therefore that if any man is qualified (see the pastoral epistles) gifted spiritually to preach, and has alongside these a clean desire to preach (that is, they want to preach because they want God's name to be glorified, and not simply because they think they could do a better job than someone else...) then I would say that God is likely preparing them to be called one day into the ministry.

If the door swings wide upon for such an individual one day - that is, if out of the blue they get an offer to preach somewhere, or are asked to take the pulpit - I would say they are very close to being called.

If a pulpit were offered to such a one as this thereafter - I would be inclined to say that this same fellow was being called - though I would still expect the person to pray about it.

The reality is, filling the pulpit is a lot more work than writing sermons. How many funerals, marriages and death beds does the average pastor attend each year? Does the idea of being awoken at 3:00 a.m. to settle marriage disputes between backslidden pew-warmers entice you? etc. 60 hours a week and 40 more on the week ends - a pastor's life is service, and it certainly doesn't belong to himself. Pastors also do not make a lot of money.

Really, anyone who still wants to be a pastor after they find out all about the job description - how can it be that this person is not called? Who in their right mind willfully choses to live with that kind of unending abuse? :-)

Only those who are truly called to it can expect to last it out - and the only reason they can last it out is because it brings them more joy than anything the world has to offer.

My old pastor, retired after 60 years in the pulpit, when asked what advice he would give to anyone who sought to be a pastor - his advice was unexpected - "count the cost."

Dan
/\/
\/\


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Daniel van de Laar

 2005/9/3 20:47Profile
Will
Member



Joined: 2003/10/1
Posts: 78
Auckland, New Zealand

 Re:

Quote:

dann wrote:
What scripture does teach is that we are called to follow Jesus Christ.



Yes as has been said we are all called to follow Christ.

My advice is stay close to the Lord, in prayer, Bible reading and meditation. And as your mind comes closer to the mind of God you will be able to go forth and make decisions that are the ones God wants you to make.


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Will Schmidt

 2005/9/3 21:45Profile
Kadmiel
Member



Joined: 2005/8/8
Posts: 74
Florida, U.S.A.

 Re: hearing God's calling


Sister roadsign,

First of all; Thank you for sharing your personal experience on this issue. I saw so much of myself in what you shared not to mention blessed. I was called into ministry over 20 years ago and went to Bible College but soon left. I have regreted that so many times over the years. I have wasted my whole life when i should have obeyed God. Beleive me when i say i have payed dearly because i disobeyed him and went on my own and to the world. It's only been in the past few years that i grew sick of not obeying God and turned around. I do hope in the near future i might be able by his grace to obey him fully. I've recently started studies in B.H. Clendennen's "School of Christ International" (through correspondence). A very old minister years ago once told me that Bible College or any studies don't make you a minister. Only God by his Holy Spirit does that. Bible College and any other studies only prepare you. So i've begun my studies. Anyway, i was very touched and moved and again i say blessed by your response in this thread. I know this might not sound like much to anyone reading this but it's only been two years now that i've been paying my tithes and offerings as well as monthly missions to David Wilkerson ministry's and i honestly feel like a kid at christmas. It's so exciting to give to the Lord. Not to mention i will become a monthly donator to sermonindex because i'm extremely blessed here. Lastly i would like to say that on one occasion i can think of; I was negative in regards to one of your postings. For that i truly am sorry. The Lord has really been purging and cleansing me alot lately. It's so spiritually painfull to. From now on if i read anything i don't agree with anyone on; I will not say anything. Like Greg has said, these forumns are for lifting up and encouraging the body of Christ. I do hope you will forgive me and again your posting really did touch me.


_________________
Tommy

 2005/9/3 21:54Profile
Kadmiel
Member



Joined: 2005/8/8
Posts: 74
Florida, U.S.A.

 Re: Question


rdv,

Welcome to "sermonindex", glad your with us.


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Tommy

 2005/9/3 22:02Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

rdv posted:

Quote:
How does one know if God has called them to the ministry

for years as I know that I have been called to Minister


hi rdv
welcome to the family.
I have quoted from your two earliest posts here. I sometimes think we should 'ban' the words 'ministry' and 'minister' for a while. In the NT the word usually means 'to serve' or 'service'. So if we re-ask your question and comment we get something likehow does one know if God has called them to service?
for years as I know that I have been called to serve So the bottom line is that we are called to 'minister/serve'. It was built in to the 'job definition' given to Adam from the first;“And Jehovah God taketh the man, and causeth him to rest in the garden of Eden, [u]to serve it[/u], and to keep it.” (Gen. 2:15, YNG) You can see the link to in Christ himself;“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” (Phil. 2:7, KJVS) Human-ness and servant-hood were inseparable. It has to do with the disposition of our hearts; are we seeking for thrones or bowls of water and towels?

There may well be specific calls to dedicate yourself to some 'aspect' of service which would make earning your own living difficult or impossible. If God does call you to do this, you will know, but if he does you will understand that he has called and he is responsible for your wages. One of the most amazing missionaries ever was William Cary in India. His labours were incredible and as far as I know he never received a salary from a Christian organisation. When once asked his occupation he answered "I save souls but I mend shoes to pay expenses".

Quote:
"any man who DESIRES the position of an overseer....."

The word 'position' or 'office' is not in the original scripture. This is how Darby translated it “The word [is] faithful: if any one aspires to exercise oversight, he desires a good work.” (1Tim. 3:1, DRBY) Darby has differentiated well here the difference between 'position' and 'function'.


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Ron Bailey

 2005/9/4 2:28Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: words and different usages

Hi, Kadmiel,
Thank you for sharing your own experiences and also for bearing witness to my experiences. Our life stories show that God doesn't work in formulas, but guides us all individually.

Quote:
From now on if i read anything i don't agree with anyone on; I will not say anything.


Now, I know that you are saying this because you don't want to be disagreeable. However, I challenge you to share your thoughts anyway. There are ways to express differing thoughts while still valuing the person. Just as this thread is exposing, words have a funny way of changing in meaning, through usage. I suspect that many times when we seem to disagree, we are merely using words slightly differently (without realizing it).

Besides that, you may have further insight to share, that would benefit us all.
Diane


_________________
Diane

 2005/9/4 16:01Profile





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