| Call to Ministry|
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am currently at a place in life where, well I dunno whats going on haha. Since God saved me (March 5, 2003), I have always wanted to do ministry in some form. However, I never really "heard the call" so to say so I have always dismissed the thought, but it has continued through the years. God has done a work in me to change me and is continuing it. Recently I was at a weekend youth revival sort of thing and the speaker quoted Augstine as saying "Love God and do as you wish." Not saying as long as you love God you can live it up, but instead if you love God your life and the choices you make will honor Him from that love. Still today ministry is at the back of my mind. I am now prayerfully considering this path and have sent for information from a seminary close by. I suppose my question or whatever is, is this wrong? Is it possible for one to be drawn into the ministry or is it a calling only?
| 2010/3/9 6:55||Profile|
| Re: Call to Ministry|
Friend this is a common feeling or thought that some people seek an audible voice or sign from God before taking a step to ministry. Paris Reidhead once said I recognize only one call in the New Testament and that is a Call to Christ. (This being in reference to the question Has God called you to be a Missionary in Africa?) God is calling us to Christ if this call leads us to ministry then be obedient to call to Follow Christ There. I know when I decided to become a Youth Pastor the Lord pressed heavily on my heart the Souls of the Youth and the Next Generation I simply followed it and am now a Youth Leader. Did I feel called at first? No not really but I felt the pullings of my heart break for the Lost of my city and for Christ's Glory. I do advise be prayerful and seek God's face on this matter. And in truth we are all called to Minister meaning our daily lives can be our ministry to Christ and the people we come in contact with.
| 2010/3/9 7:51||Profile|
| Re: Call to Ministry..........ABIDING|
Any true ministry is an act of the Holy Spirit; emanating Christ. Jesus said that we must abide in Him to bear fruit acceptable to God. Ministry is not a pulpit, a position, a snappy talk about the Bible, or anything less than Christ in you , the Hope of Glory, moving upon your heart, to give life to those you encounter.
When we lose this simplicity, we begin to strive to climb the ladder of religious attainment. This is when the wanna-be's arrive. Men want a king, and the king wants loyal subjects. Ambition is born in the hearts of men, bearing the infant Pharisee, and the death march begins.
Then, often, the position begins ,and the ladder of success becomes everything.The Pharisee's said of Jesus...
"If we let Him continue, the Romans will come and remove our place, and our Nation!"..and they conspired to murder him, and Lazarus.[ Lazarus being the undeniable crowning miracle proving Jesus to be the Messiah!]They knew He was the coming Savior, but cared more for their ministry than Him. This is the nature of Religious ministry.
This is what mostly happens when the ambition of ministry turns into a desire to "make a name for myself!" I have met some of the most hateful and arrogant people in my life who call themselves Pastors; and some, wildly successful in the eyes of men.
"Abide in Me!"..and let your fruit be before God,as a good brother or sister. Read the Bible, not to teach others, but to obey, as you secretly worship Jesus. Then,true ministry will arise,naturally, out of a crucified self life, presenting a risen Savior. Then, you might have learned how to love, as you abide in His spirit.
Remember, true ministry is always unto the least of the brothers and sisters, and to the solitary one. Sometimes there may be crowds, but that will be the exact same as your secret place with Jesus. Don' strive for ministry; strive to be pleasing to the Master. Learn to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, all on your own, for the Lord seeks such people.
Then, you will be a part of His ministry...whether your put on the shelf,or displayed in His showcase. Attaining Him and Heaven is a million times more important than our ideas of ministry...and it begins and ends with abiding in Him.
Beware of men, and striving to gain preeminence.
| 2010/3/9 9:49|
| Re: Call to Ministry|
Hello there, I'm going to try to answer this with something I feel the Lord gave me regarding finding direction in life. I recently made a decision to go into ministry, but unlike you, I was pretty sure of what God had asked me. It was so completely out of character for me that I couldn't have thought of it on my own. Now, no matter what I tell you, or anyone else, it is no substitute for deep earnest prayer on your part.
In looking at these verses you must be totally honest with yourself.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.'
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
What this says is that if your treasure is truly in heaven and you desire no earthly thing above God's Kingdom than your heart is set to heavenly things. If Matthew 6:21 applies than you can approach Mark 12:30. Once you can obey Mark 12:30 look at Psalm 37:4. Look up some of the synonyms of delight as it probably means more than you think it does, it did to me. So if you delight in the Lord then you are the person in Psalms 37:23 (Go back over the synonyms for delight as they apply to how God feels about you).
If you can go through all those you know that your heart is set on heavenly things and not earthly, your heart is completely tasked with loving God, you delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart, which are born in heaven and established by the Lord, and rest assured that God takes interest and cares where you place your foot.
If you can say these things about yourself, and your motives are in no way selfish, it could be that this creeping desire you've felt is the Lord in your ear. I hope this helps rather than confuse. I'm dealing with a decision right now where these very verses are coming in handy. It's not always easy to make difficult decisions. But I don't believe God will punish us for doing what we honestly believe is in His will. We just have to make sure our heart is pure before Him.
| 2010/3/9 10:01||Profile|
| Re: |
I believe if you are truly called then as you seek the Lord with everything in you, that calling will become like a fire in your bones. You won't be able to do anything but answer the call. Notice that you must be seeking God with everything, if not the cares of this life will cloud your mind.
Jeremiah 20:9 (KJV)
9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
Jeremiah had a call that was like a fire in his bones, he could do nothing but answer it.
I also believe that there is a call for every believer to be a witness and serve God, but that special call to minister, to be God's spokesman, must be a fire in our bones. If we approach it haphazardly, or casually, it can do more to harm the kingdom than build it. I will be praying for you that if God is calling you out that this call will become a fire in your bones, to the point that you can not refuse it.
| 2010/3/9 10:05||Profile|
| Re: |
I agree with what Tom has said.
I would just add this. Seeking ministry as an end in itself is a tragic mistake.
I would advise instead... seek God till you know you are hearing from Him. What is God saying in this hour? Seek vision... to see what God's own hope and objective is in His church. What is He doing in this hour to bring that to pass?
Tozer once said the greatest need of our day is for men with vision, and for lack of that, the church that thinks she is in her golden age is actually in her time of Babylonian captivity.
Oh, for men of VISION! Not their own, I mean, but seeing out of God's own eyes His eternal purpose in Christ and His church.
Seek Vision. It won't be easy to come by, maybe the hardest thing you ever gave yourself to... but when you have that, when you can SEE, you'll be able to walk and know clearly where to put your feet.
So I say, put the desire for ministry on the back burner for now... and seek God to impart to you true spiritual vision. With that, the ministry he has in mind for you will fall into place.
| 2010/3/9 10:53||Profile|
| Re: |
I'm in kind of the same position as the original poster. I also like every one of the post below and I take them into consideration. I have a list of reasons why I might be called already, the biggest one being that God keeps giving me opportunities to speak/preach, but I've always thought that when he called me I would have some big experience that I haven't had yet. I haven't prayed for God to call me, i've just prayed to be like Jesus, and I've made myself available to the Lord. Since then He has opened up many opportunities for me to speak/preach. I call it speaking because I haven't labeled myself as a preacher, although others have, but in essence that's what I'm doing - preaching. I'm not sure what to do, but I know God's gonna work it out. One thing I have learned through my starting opportunities is how burdensome preaching really is. It comes with a lot of responsibility. I fear it more now than I did. God has also let me fail enough to know without a shadow of a doubt that I can't do it without Him.
| 2010/3/10 19:03||Profile|
| Re: Call to Ministry|
What an important thing to discuss, pray and study the Word about. Many good points made.
It is natural to want to minister after new birth. Filled with the Spirit of Christ, the Love of God (both [u]His[/u] Love and Loving Him), you can't help but love others (desire to give, minister what you have received, 1 John's love one another). There are many ways to put words to this inner experience.
Do you mean by called to ministry called to something acquirable in a Seminary? Better acquired in a Seminary?
This post caused me to go out to my car and retrieve my scribbled record of what I heard on the radio driving home from Bible Study Fellowship today. A young man said to John Knox, I feel called to ministry. (might have been feel called to preach). John Knox replied, Feel? Dear Sir, if God will [u]let you do[/u] anything else, go and do it with all your might. Knox is rarely, if ever, mentioned on radio these days so I was impressed to write it down.
After you are born again, it is easy to see God's sovereign guiding hand in your life before your new birth. Except for our hungry seeking Him and knowing cooperation, is it likely to be different afterward? He never leaves us. Maybe Seminary can help people learn IF God is calling them to something specific, perhaps supply un-possessed discipline, or increase the probability of being surrounded by other disciples, and Christian fellowship. I hear graduates say there is a lot to guard your heart about there also (higher criticism, psychology, inroads of culture, etc.). God knows what He's doing when we are doing what we are doing with a heart to follow Him..
I love your heart for God. Keep pressing as deep as He enables you to INTO HIM.
| 2010/3/10 21:45||Profile|
| Re: |
Brothertom your reply was truly refreshing to read. The clergy/laity system has hindered many believers from fulfilling their true ministry or service to the Lord. Many of us are taught to believe that official Christian ministry is only for the clergy, and therefore if we want to minister we need a seminary degree that will qualify us; otherwise we are only part of the laity. And so we are held back from serving the Lord because we feel unqualified. Yet the word of God teaches the priesthood of all believers (1Peter 2:5), and all of us are called to minister, even if we don't have any formal training. In Acts we read that the rulers and elders marveled at the boldness and confidence of the disciples, because they were unlearned, or uneducated, yet they appeared to have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). And that is the key to successful ministry, as you pointed out brothertom; Abiding in Jesus. We don't need to wait til we have a degree to start serving the Lord. We just need to seek Him daily and diligently, in prayer and in His Word, and He will guide us to the ministry or service He has for us. God bless you as you seek His direction.
| 2010/3/11 0:30||Profile|
West Monroe, LA
| Re: suffering|
I agree with what Brother Tom has written and add this simple note regarding ministry to which the whole Bible testifies and to which many of us can also witness, that a true call into ministry, is a call into sharing Christs sufferings.
God forbid that you by any means garner some kind of romantic fantasy of ministry that is patterned upon the majority of what is called ministry today. Those who are truly called are called into lives that will mirror the same kind of rejections that the Lord, and His apostles and the prophets before them received. Not so for those who like to be popular and preach what folks like or want to hear. The scriptures are filled, and I believe if you search it out, you will find that all of Christian history is also filled with the fact that those who would minister, truly "minister", and not just from a pulpit, but in life, are those like Joseph that must go down before they can go up. They are those who speak not just from theory but from experience. To minister, prepare to experience! Are you ready for the fire? Jesus asked the two brothers a similar question and we know what shortly happened to one of them, and to the other humble "companion in tribulation".
A study from the Word of God just on the word minister from both testaments, is an enlightening revelation of the labor and yet the joy of truly being called. Art Katz said in his inimitable way that they are the ones like the priests bearing the tabernacle that were required to step into the muddy overflowing Jordan first, and to stay there the longest, until all the rest had passed over.
2 Corinthians 1:2-12 (NKJV)
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. 8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many. 12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
| 2010/3/11 8:53||Profile|