Saturday, May 14, 2011

We are all called to the ministry

Once again Alan Knox and I are thinking alike. He just beat me to it!

Dave Black wrote a piercing comment this morning that I appreciated....

I have a question today, a question to which I do not know the answer. When will appeals for vocations to the ministry end? And when, in their place, will the church encourage all of its members to seek God's will for the area of ministry in which they can most effectively be used by Him? I propose that we never again use the expression "call to the ministry" unless we are careful to apply it to each and every Christian. All this will neither be easy nor popular. Yet at some point it must be done. One of the main reasons for burn-out in the pastorate is that it is often carried out alone. The New Testament never envisaged such a predicament. Ministry needs to be shared. Jesus realized this: He sent out the apostles two by two. Paul realized this when he appointed elders (note the plural) in every church. And it needs to be modeled by today's Christian leaders. It is not until church members are enthusiastic about their own God-given gifts that we will succeed in being the Body of Christ.
The notion of being "called to the ministry" is a common one in the church and while we have surrounded it with all sorts of piety, the real impact is that it implies that because a small subset of the church is "called to ministry" then the rest of the church is not. This has led to the passive observance of what we call "church" by most Christians who sit and watch men who are hopelessly overburdened try to shoulder all of the ministry for a local church.

It is unscriptural and it needs to stop for the health and witness of the church of Christ.

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