Over the last three years, I have been studying at a Bible college in order to, upon graduation, go into ministry of some sort. Over the last two years, I have really been questioning my calling into ministry and whether or not working in a church is what is best for me.
Yesterday, I graduated from Bible college. And I have never been more convicted that I am not supposed to work in a church, at least not right now.
It seems to me that God has really been communicating to me that the church belongs to Jesus. And Jesus gave up his life for the members of churches, not just the paid staff.
There’s a level of ownership that we, as men, need to assume for our congregation. We cannot simply bank on paid staff doing the entire ministry.
Ed Stetzer, an author, speaker, and pastor, spoke at my graduation. He addressed our class saying that as Bible college graduates, we may often find ourselves in positions where people come to us when they need something in ministry. He warned us, “Don’t take on what God has called someone else to do.”
Taking up a mantle
I think that this is a real dilemma in churches that I have interacted with. That is why I am not currently going into ministry. I am currently looking for jobs in which I still interact with people, but not necessarily in the church. I want to empower lay people by being an empowered layperson.
If you are a church member, I want to encourage you. The same Holy Spirit that empowers a preacher, or that really Godly couple everyone in your church looks up to, or that children’s ministry director that you don’t know how she does all that she does. That Holy Spirit dwells in you too.
You have been given the gift of God’s grace that is new every day. No matter what you attempt to do, God’s grace is going with you. He’s not asking you to do ministry perfectly. He’s asking you to put yourself out there and let his grace go to work.
So take up a mantle.
Faith in Action
Maybe you want to help out with the youth group at your church. Maybe you want to lead a small group. Maybe you want to take a younger guy under your wing and disciple him once a week. Maybe you don’t know what you want to do. Do something!
The only way that we are able to see God’s grace is when we activate our faith. Maybe you are thinking “I can’t do this.” “I’m not capable.” “I’m not trained.” “I’ll do more harm than good.” Those are lies from Satan himself. If you have the Holy Spirit, and you understand the good news that Jesus has offered to us, all you have to do is make yourself available.
Take a step. See what God does. It may not be easy. It may not be what you expect. But one thing it will be is good. God is faithful to give grace to those who trust in him. So whatever you’re thinking about. Give it a shot. Pick up a mantle. Run with the gospel.
Mitch graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, where he studied Evangelism and Discipleship with an emphasis in Intercultural Ministries. He blogs at his own website about how the Gospel impacts the way we ought our lives. He was a Golden State Warriors fan before it was cool and is considered a semi-professional Kan Jam player in his hometown.