Thoughts on “Ministry” and the Call to Preach

Thoughts on “Ministry” and the Call to Preach

I believe in ministry! I believe that every believer is spiritually gifted to serve in the ministry of the local church as taught in Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12.  I also believe that God gives some men as specific leaders in the work of the ministry as taught in Ephesians 4:11-16.  Paul writes that he was “put” into the ministry; Isaiah appears to have “volunteered” and God accepted his offer to serve.  The disciples were “invited” to follow Jesus and trained to serve Him.  Amos was “taken” as he was working on his farm.  John the Baptist apparently was “chosen from his mother’s womb”  (I Tim 1:1/Isa 6:8-9/Mark 1:19-20/Amos 7:14-15/Luke 1:13-17).

Were they called? What does that mean?  And how does one know?  Here are several thoughts in answer to those questions:

  1. We should all serve in whatever capacity we can and with our God-given spiritual gifts. I even believe that if we are walking in the Spirit, God will enable us to serve in a multiplicity of ways and with whatever spiritual gift that is required for us to do so. We should serve in the local church and should serve our spouses and our families.  We should shine the light of Christianity to those around us by our good works. Jesus said that doing so would bring glory to God (Matt. 5:16).
  2. We should perhaps encourage “volunteering” over “surrendering,” especially if we are speaking to younger people.  One service filled with peer pressure and “preacher” pressure may not be enough to help a young person to count the cost and to adequately discern God’s will.  I would even think that we should never push or shame a teen into “following through” on an emotional decision they made in a high pressured service.  Instead, encourage them to seek God, follow His leading, and use their gifts and abilities for Him whether they ever enter “full-time” ministry or not.
  3. Apply the Bible practically rather than emotionally.  Charles Spurgeon (in Lectures to my Students, pp. 23-28) teaches that a “call” is a culmination of several matters. It is an overwhelming desire and burden for the work.  It will involve an “aptness to teach and some measure” of the gifts and abilities necessary to do the work. It will be accompanied by some measure of “conversion-work” as a result of one’s efforts and one’s “preaching should be acceptable to the people of God”.  Simple thoughts, but very helpful! And worth the reading in their entirety.

I get asked this question quite often: How do I know if I am called to preach?  Using Spurgeon’s thoughts have often been a help.  Remembering the “time factor” is too.  A burden can come and go, but if God is calling you, He will faithfully continue to do so and will lead you in such a way as to accomplish the work (I Thes. 5:24). 

I know a young man who is in Bible college and is struggling.  He hates it.  He is discouraged. He has no joy and no victory.  He lacks friends.  He lacks funds.  I texted him recently and suggested that he forget about “full-time” ministry and find a job and serve the Lord in a local church with the gifts he has and the resources that God will give him in that job.  He was dumbfounded and actually a bit offended.  He told me that I was the only person who had ever suggested that to him.  Perhaps he has been taught that ministry is the highest calling and he wants to be the best and should not “step down” to do anything else.  He may certainly be called. I don’t know.  It may also be that he is mislead into thinking that some are more “special” because they serve in ministry.  I disagree with that idea.  I serve in ministry because God put it into my heart and gave me gifts and abilities to do it. He opened doors and through the years gave us great fruit.  I would hasten to point out, however, that I have many Christian friends who work a “normal” job and yet serve the Lord with their gifts and abilities and resources just like I do. They raise Godly children and have great marriages. They win souls and impact others in the church. They live Christianity in every kind of environment possible.  They are not given to be “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers” (Eph 4:11) but they are serving the Lord nonetheless!  Quite frankly, we need both in the local church.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts.

As always, thanks for reading.

Your sincere friend,

Dave Young

6 thoughts on “Thoughts on “Ministry” and the Call to Preach

  1. Great stuff Brother. Thank you for your friendship and example. I totally agree that God will make the path clear in His time. I struggled with the “call to preach” early on in our marriage because God didn’t move us into full time ministry right away. But God did make it clear that faithfulness to serve the Lord in our local church regardless of title or position was His will, just as much as our next step of coming to Honduras. I have thought for a long time that sometimes we (the church) get all hung up on semantics when it is really very simple. We think about and pray for y’all often, Nate

    Please excuse any errors…sent from my phone

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  2. It is interesting that we allow feelings to dictate to us God’s voice. I think the real issue is that we have failed to recognize the voice of God. “My sheep hear my voice and they know me”. If we want to know the voice of God and have confidence that we recognize the voice of God, We must act on the Holy Spirt’s promptings in our everyday life. The more we listen and obey the more we will clearly see it was indeed Him speaking through the fruit that is produced. Our obedience results in us being confident in His voice. If we do not learn to listen and obey in the everyday, no matter how strange the request(talking to a complete stranger etc), we will never trust His voice in the decisions that have life long ramifications. As one that struggled with my calling for years, it was not that I did not hear His voice, but rather that I was failing to recognize it as such because I was not following it consistently in my everyday living. Obedience is the key to confidence.

    Just my two cents,

    Brett

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  3. Bro. Dave, you have a gift for getting your point (or God’s point) across without the proverbial slap in the face! I would the Lord would gift me with that, but to everyone severally as He will. I was drawn as God used my Pastor to take me to a Bible conference in Chattanooga as a new Christian wanting to be contained by Christ. He didn’t badger me but little by little he would use me to do this or that. Before long I was looking for things to do until God put that desire in my heart to labor in His Word, God bless you brother and keep up the good Word and work!!!

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