What a great blessing it is to serve the Lord. Additionally, I am privileged with a high calling of serving God and others through the ministry. Every believer is called to serve the Lord and many need to wake up to that fact, quit groaning about everyday life, and begin to serve Him through that arena. However, there is a definite sense of calling into vocational and leadership ministry to which a few are called.
How do you know if God desires for you to serve in the ministry? I think many of my peers would do well to give this some critical thinking. Some would say that the presence of a gift is a definitive sign of calling for ministry. I disagree. I do however believe that those who are called into the ministry will possess some gifts for that servitude. These individuals should not rest upon their giftedness, but grow and develop their gifts into their best form for use in the Kingdom. A calling into the ministry, however, does not solely rest upon giftedness.
What about character? Yes, Scripture appears to be more concerned about morality and godly character than an individual’s competency. It’s not that we should ignore the competency side of one’s calling. However, character should always trump competency. Why is that? It is because a lack of godly character will be more destructive and harmful to the Kingdom than inferior giftedness.
Here’s how it all worked out for me. Early in my Christian life, it became obvious to me that I had some giftings that could be used for the local church and even suitable for the ministry. Yet, I made no assumptions. Quietly and simply, I got as involved as I could with serving the local church. After many months of prayer and sometimes even fasting, I began to strongly desire and sense a great drawing toward the ministry. I differentiate this from what I was doing with and for my local church as knowing that I was being called into ministry leadership. I can remember the highly emotional release of finally coming to the reality that God wanted my entire future to be shaped by His call. I shared it with my wife, my pastor’s wife, and a men’s prayer meeting at my local church. Eventually, it all led to my local church family confirming my gifts, affirming my calling, and encouraging me to pursue ministry credentials with our denomination. After more years of preparation, this chain of events led to my first pastorate.
During this season of ministry life, I do not serve one particular congregation and city. That’s a beautiful pastoral burden and one that I immensely enjoyed. In my current ministry leadership role, I serve our denomination’s pastors, congregations, and other judicatory boards. As a denominational executive, I find great pleasure in helping pastor other pastors. I try to be a Barnabas to many and there are a few that I help father in the ministry, like unto a Paul.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I will always have a passion, burden, and drawing towards pastoral ministry. This is what keeps me connected to those whom I am called to serve. I sense their burdens, discern their dilemmas, and astutely know how to pray for them. At times, there even appears to be divine insight given to me to know how to help them fulfill their calling. God seems to have wired the DNA of my personality in that I sense a certain guardianship of the faith. This determination causes me to pray protectively and stand strongly in opposition to the spiritual forces that come against those who serve our congregations.
What does ministry look like for you right now? How did you get to the point where you knew for sure that you were called into the ministry? Are you growing in Christ-like character as you exercise your gifts? Let’s keep the discussion going and maintain a grateful heart for the privilege of ministry. It’s about so much more than simply preaching a sermon or teaching a lesson.