Am I Called to Ministry?
Am I called to ministry? This question can feel complicated. For some “the ministry” has a specific way it should look. Maybe a pastoral role or selling everything to move to another country as a missionary. I just love the zeal that oozes from someone who is willing to go anywhere and do anything for Jesus!
It’s easy to lose sight of who we are and what we’re called to as followers of Jesus. Sometimes we overcomplicate what it means to be “in the ministry.” There have been seasons in my life when I wrestled with feeling that I was not doing enough and that I should be giving more. It turns out it was really my perspective that needed the change. Thankfully, God lovingly made it simple and showed us what ministry looks like.
When Jesus was physically on this Earth, he spent significant time with his disciples. They watched him heal the sick, feed the hungry, cast out demons, pursue peace, preach with boldness, serve with humility, spend time in prayer and extend genuine love to all those around him.
Jesus shared these words with the disciples as their zeal grew to follow his ways.“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” John 14:12 -14
He said that we will do what he did and...even greater things?! Notice he doesn’t say, only those with a ministry title in front of their names, will do these things.
Did you catch who is called into ministry? Anyone, who has faith in Him. This means you and me! We've been called into ministry, to follow the ways of Jesus. These verses pierce my heart and challenge me to question...am I doing these things that Jesus did in my everyday life?
The disciples also watched Jesus slowly suffer and die. On the third day, Jesus came back to life, he defeated death and the power of the enemy over our lives. He provided a path for direct relationship with God. This is huge and deserves a big Hallelujah!
Before he physically returned to heaven he gave us a mission. He told us exactly what we’re called to!
Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19 - 20
These words are not just for the original disciples or exclusive to current missionaries overseas. They describe a lifestyle that we’re invited to embrace.
When our family transitioned back to the States after living in Central America, we faced the question, what’s next? Between both a local pastoral position and the International missionary roles, we had been working for the church full time for around 9 years. Most of those around us expected we’d say yes to one of the many opportunities to officially continue, “in the ministry”. However we felt drawn to give a season of our lives “in ministry”, without the titles.
We asked the question, “What if we continue to embrace our lifestyle as pastors and missionaries, but choose to live it in the ordinary days, within the context of our family, local community and jobs?”
We recognized that we weren’t required to have a ministry title, or a church organization to officially send us out. Jesus commissioned us with his last words on earth, ”Go and make disciples...”
As followers of Jesus, we can paralyze the unique work God has for each of us, when we define ministry as something that only happens within the church walls and done only by persons with official church roles.
1 Corinthians tells us that we’re “God’s co - laborers.” We’ve all been invited to work alongside him.
Growing up I saw this first hand. My grandfather was a pastor, he and my grandmother served with great compassion in their roles. My father has worked in the funeral industry for most of his life, helping families as they walk in the valley of the shadow of death. My mother was determined to raise her children to be world changers and today she goes to great lengths to share the love of Jesus with those who are hurting. Each of these special people (along with many others) in my life, showed me in different ways what it means to serve others - with or without ministry titles.
What would it look like if we each fully embraced a lifestyle of ministry and the opportunity to be co-laborers with God?
What if we also embraced the truth that being a pastor is not a higher calling than a carpenter, stay at home mother or any other place of employment?
My husband had this quote hanging in his office by Charles Spurgeon, “If God has called you to be a servant, why stoop to be a king?” This reminds us that our value is not found in a title.
I'm married to the kind of man that lives this out, he's never sought out a high position and while consistently working in leadership roles, he never wants to mention his job title. He genuinely doesn't care what his title is. He is just Jed, a man that loves Jesus and embraces those within his reach. It's one of the many things that make me fall in love with him over and over again!
This quote reminds us that there is no higher calling than the one we've been placed in. To strive for something different solely because it's more prestigious in the world's eyes, would be such a loss for God's kingdom.
IF we're choosing to live out the mission he's called us to, it will change the way we see our lives and the opportunities all around us.
I come alive thinking about the potential that awaits. It’s with humility and gratitude that I recognize the Creator of this universe and the Savior of our souls has invited us to work with him.
Whatever place of employment or unemployment you find yourself in...you’re called to ministry. God has already given us the power and authority to do the things he did on Earth, so what are we waiting for?
I pray today that the Holy Spirit breathes fresh revelation into our hearts. That we’d have eyes to see that our mission field is all around us.
May we have the courage to step out and walk in the ways that Jesus has shown us. May our hearts never be satisfied with anything less!
These words are powerful from Oswald Chambers’ book, My Utmost for His Highest: “Look at God’s incredible waste of His saints, according to the world’s judgement. God seems to plant His saints in the most useless places. And then we say, “God intends for me to be here because I am so useful to Him.” Yet Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was of the greatest use. God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him.”
Let’s give Him the glory wherever he’s placed us in this season, because it’s not about us, it’s about following His ways.
Though our time may or may not appear to be spent in a useful place to others, you and I know what really matters in light of eternity. So let’s get to work, He’s called us to ministry!