I realize that many of you who attended She Speaks, and those who did not, long for confirmation about their callings. I know because I did, too. The question on my heart was, “How do I know that I know I’m called of God? …And what’s the difference between church ministry and vocational ministry?” Because of these questions, I spent over a year being counseled by my pastor and studying God’s Word so that I could move forward with assurance—the same kind of assurance you’re looking for.
Today, I’ll try and explain “the call” to ministry and then follow up in the next few days with “what the call” looks like lived out. I hope it will answer some of your questions. If not, feel free to ask.
One should sense that being in ministry is God’s will for their life. They know it’s nothing less than a “God thing.” While we are all called and gifted for church ministry, some are called to vocational ministry. They know that God has claimed their life for His service beyond serving in the church. Each person called into vocational ministry will have a unique and personal story of this experience.
I had been a student of God’s Word for 15 years when God called me into ministry. I was satisfied as a student of His Word. I never thought about teaching it. I was too shy to stand in front of people. When asked to make an announcement at church, I’d experience fever and nausea the entire night before that lasted until my duty was over!
Serving my church was important to me. I severed in various ways—VBS, Children and Youth ministry, committees of all kinds, and I participate in missions and programs that taught believers how to share of the gospel. (I’ve always been passionate about sharing Jesus!)
One day, I was reading my bible in my bedroom when God called me to surrender my life to full-time service. I don’t claim to have heard the audible voice of God, but it was the loudest thought I ever had. I knew exactly what He wanted even though I didn’t know what it all meant, but I responded wholeheartedly to God’s plan for my life.
My first step was getting my pastor’s blessing and counseling. Throughout our time together, I experienced miracle after miracle of God’s confirmation. My pastor encouraged me to write these things down. He shared that there would be days of discouragement and disappoints. There would be days that I would want to give up and quit. I should return to these testimonies and be encouraged to press on. I’ve done this many times since and encourage you to do the same.
While you should also be able to pinpoint the time when God called you into ministry, the important thing is not how you were called—but that you’re certain your call came from God. Knowing that you are called is key motivation to being in ministry.
According to Henry T. Blackaby, there are people in ministry for other reasons than a calling from God.
1.) Some are in ministry because they are grateful for their salvation.
2.) Some are in ministry because they love studying and teaching the Word. Again, knowing that you are called to teach the bible outside of the church comes with a “knowing” God has called you further.
3.) Some with the gift of service naturally enjoy helping people.
4.) Others are persuaded by family members or feel they must follow in their parent’s footsteps.
5.) Others who were never affirmed or not popular see a readily acceptance and respect that a person in ministry receives therefore signs up for ministry.
While these are noble reasons, they are not the right motivation for being in ministry. One should sense that being in ministry is God’s will for their lives.
Whether you or I are called to church ministry or vocational ministry, they are equally important!! Either way, you did not chose to work for God, God chose you. Your calling, and mine, came from an intimate relationship with God. He did not call you or me because we are special or talented, but because He chose us for Himself and called us into a relationship with Him. From that relationship, He calls, equips and prepares us to do good works.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).
Pondering Thoughts for Growth
1.) Can you recall a specific time when you were certain God called you into vocational ministry? Explain
2.) In your service now, do you feel satisfied? If not, could God be calling you further?
3.) Have you ever sought godly counseling and direction from your pastor? Why or why not?
4.) Make a list of your gifts and how you’re presently using them.
5.) Are new doors being opened for you? If they are or they are not, what should be your response?
It’s not enough to know that we are called. We must understand the call upon our lives in order to fully live it out through His provision. How we perceive our call determines how we will live. I’ll follow up on this topic with “What the Call Looks Likes Lived Out”