"I really feel like God is calling me to ministry," has become a phrase I, happily hear pretty often. I love hearing it. Almost always it is stated with some degree of fear and uncertainty. The uncertainty is almost always centered on, "What now?" So here are a few thoughts on what now, ministry and feeling called...
- Keep doing what you're doing
If you're in school now, as is usually the case here, work hard to make good grades and earn your degree. Unless you feel incredibly strongly and others providing wise counsel agree that you should do something different, don't. As you continue,
- Talk to your church leadership
The New Testament most commonly shows the leaders in the church agreeing on God's calling for ministry in a person's life. The church trained ministers, "sent" them out, and supported them in ministry. That is a great model. Do the leaders in your church affirm you in this calling? Do they agree that this seems to be your life's trajectory? Do they confirm this calling? God places you in the church for such a time as this.
Often I have been surprised by young men telling me that they felt like God was leading them toward vocational ministry. The reason that I am surprised is that they have not been very connected to the church and they have not been serving anywhere, either in the church or their community. All Christians are called to serve! In fact, it is not just something that we all should do, it is our identity - as Jesus was a servant, so we, shaped in His image should also be servants. Are you serving? Are you serving in your church? You've been gifted and equipped to do just that!
- Don't wait
Ha! I know - it sounds like I am contradicting what I started with - keep doing what you're doing. But what I mean is don't wait to "do" ministry or "be" a minister. You already are. I sometimes hear people talk about ministry as if you have to have a certain education before you can jump in and minister... like, one day, when I finish this school and that school, THEN I'll be a minister. After school, then I will pastor. In the last two weeks, I have talked with a couple of different guys and said, "You are a minister now. What are you waiting for? There are people all around you who need someone to point them to Jesus - THAT'S YOU!" School and training are certainly crucial, but they don't end in ministry. They should further equip ministers. You are already a minister - just a good one or a bad one. School won't make you a minister. It will only shape your ministry. Be a minister of the gospel in some sense now.
- Do wait
Patiently, prayerfully wait on the Lord. Let Him lead and speak as you minister where you are, as you serve in your church, on your campus or job, in your home. Allow your church leadership time to help you in assessing your calling and direction and keep doing what you are doing as God brings it all together.
If you are a part of New City and want to talk more about What's Next for your life in ministry, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and lets get together.