Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Ministry: A Call to Hazardous Living?

"... all those serving God on the front lines of ministerial practice. They are some of faith's heroes. But too many end up casualties of their own expectations and those of others." (Emil J. Authelet Jr)

There are no easy answers to the challenges of entering the ministry. When one pays the price, one does not simply pay it in full in a one-time transaction. It is more like putting down an initial downpayment, followed by regular servicing of the mortgage. This payment is not simply the opportunity lost in one's previous career prospects. It includes the sacrifice of one's family, the spouse, the children and the rest of the extended family as well. Sometimes, the struggle is compounded by the need to make ends meet, with the pastor and his family taking on additional jobs to sustain their daily lives. The book "A Pastor's Family" by Daniel L Langford is an interesting read. After reading it, I asked:

"Did God intend for ministry to be like that?" Wrong question. Better to ask, "What is the kind of ministry that honours God?" That's a better question. Even better is this:

"How can I as a person of God honour God in all of my life?"

Indeed, a life lived for God is far better than a life lived based of one's own expectations. We serve because we desire God. We minister because we desire that God be present in the lives of people. We live because God enables us to live.

"The call to ministry is always within the context of God's calling to being, than to doing. Righteousness is more than being right; it is right relating. Ministry is always within the context of right relating. We may be forgiven some bad sermons but never bad relationships." (xii, The Pastor's Family)

Honestly, I do not like the fear that surrounds the entrance gate to "The Ministry." Neither do I like the overwhelming sense of defeatedness when I hear news of many contemporaries leaving the ministry, because there are far too much hurt and frustration. Much of it is faith in God's providence, and the rightful placement of expectations both inside and outside. The ministry patterned after Christ is one of sustained earnest prayer before, during and after any ministry moments. That is how a heartful ministry derives much of its essence. In fact, the call to ministry must be first a call to the prayer closet. Second, a call to the prayer ministry rooms. Thirdly a call to the prayer room of intercession. Finally, it is a prayer call that leads one to worship. The measure of one's readiness to God's call, is largely a measure of one's prayerfulness. Pastors need to be aware of this constantly.

Indeed, one pastor leaving the ministry is one pastor too many. Please pray for your pastors regularly.


No comments:

Latest Posts