The Call to Full-Time Ministry is NOT…
I’ve known a lot of young people who claimed to be called into the ministry but never pursued full-time ministry. I don’t think it is because they were all so carnal that they rebelled against God. It could be that they mistook something else for a calling. Let’s look at some things that the call to full-time ministry is not.
1. …the feeling of, “I’d like to do that”
Some young people have sat under powerful preaching where the altars were filled and revival was breaking out. It is easy to look at the preacher and say, “I’d like to do that someday!” The desire to be in the pulpit when the moving of God is at hand is not a calling. This is no different than seeing a basketball player nail a game-winning 3 and saying, “I’d like to do that!”
The reason most young boys dream of hitting a home run to win the World Series is because we all have the desire to have the eyes of the world on us. When revival breaks out or the altars are full, it is not a credit to the man in the pulpit but to the power of God! Preaching is the easiest thing a full-time servant does and not every message sees broken wills and filled altars. Because full-time ministry looks appealing does not mean you have been called.
2. …a call to preach
No, the call to full-time ministry is not a call to preach! We know what people mean when they say they are called to preach. They mean they are called to full-time ministry. I think we need stop using terms like “preacher boys” and “called to preach” and use the correct term, “called to full-time ministry.”
We are all called to preach the gospel to every creature so there is no special call of God to preach. In fact, our churches should all have men capable of delivering a Bible message from time to time. We’ve been conditioned to see preaching as the sole domain of the full-time servant. Maybe if men were more prepared to preach, they could lead their homes better and be better leaders in their church without a calling. If a young man want’s to preach, that doesn’t mean he must spend four years at a Bible college. His pastor should be able to prepare him to preach as a layman!
3. …the only way to “serve God with your life”
Unfortunately, preachers are guilty of equating full-time ministry with “serving God with your life.” I have known many young people who want to serve God with their life but think that full-time ministry is the only avenue to serving God. It is true that the full-time minister is serving God with his life, but so is the factory worker who is faithful to his church. For every full-time minister there has to be many who go to work, earn a paycheck, and contribute through tithes and missions. We need more people who want to serve God with their life by teaching a Sunday school class, driving a bus, giving to missions, praying for their pastor, cleaning the toilets, being deacons, singing in the choir, playing in the orchestra, going out on visitation, knocking on doors, working at the altars, and a million more.
There is so much more I could say about the call to full-time ministry; what it is and what it is not. Let me close by saying that the full-time ministry is a great life! I love that serving God is also how I feed my family. However, if we are not careful, we can put too much pressure on young people to enter full-time ministry who are not called to it. We can also discourage people from serving God with their life because they are not called to full-time ministry.
Pastor Bryan Dahlke
Fallsburg Baptist Church