Entering Ministry

People have frequently asked me, “When did you enter the ministry?” I think they usually mean something like, “When did you start pastoring churches for a living?” In my mind these are two entirely different questions.

When I read the bible I see that when I came to faith in Jesus I was joined to the Body by the Holy Spirit. As part of the Body, I was joined not only to a group of people, but to the mission God has given that group of people. So from day 1 as a Christian, I was in ministry. Doubtless I didn’t understand it at the time. Most of the sermons & lessons I remember from those days (later high school) were about being a nice person. I was a good student and a Boy Scout, so I had that down. No need to listen any farther. Soon, however, I sensed that God had a bigger purpose for my life.

From one angle, I was called – as a Christian, not some extraordinary kind of creature – to influence others toward Jesus. This entailed the negative consequence of refraining from doing things that would cause people to say, “That fellow claims to believe in Jesus. If he’s what a Christian looks like I sure don’t want to be one.” It also entailed the positive consequence of inkling people to say, upon seeing my life and hearing my words, “Jesus sure is attractive. I want to follow him too!”

From another angle – though simply another side of the same thing – I was called to obey God. Amazingly simple, isn’t it? All I had to do was put myself at God’s disposal, and then when he gave me a word say something like, “Yes, Lord!” When I started doing these two things – however feebly I did them as a teenager – I was in ministry. I was in ministry my senior year of high school, throughout college, and in seminary. Never once did I pastor a church. You could count the number of times I preached without taking off your shoes. I didn’t start pastoring a church until January 1987. But all the time leading up to that I was in ministry.

Consider yourself. How long have you been in ministry? “What a silly question!” you say. “I’m a teacher, doctor, sales person, etc. I’m not in the ministry.” Are you a Christian? Are you a follower of Jesus? Have you put yourself at his disposal so he can use you as he sees fit? If so, you’re in ministry. If not, what are you waiting for?

This entry was posted in church growth, Leadership, Local church, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Entering Ministry

  1. Art says:

    Nice post. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (and writing) about this subject myself since I’m contemplating my calling.

  2. guy says:

    Amen, amen, amen. A place I’d like to start is with the clergy. We need to stop reenforcing that THE ministry is ordained ministry by diligently changing the way we speak.

  3. Carol says:

    I needed that tonight. I need to work on my ministry. Thanks.

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