The ministry is a calling, not a career. It can become a career but there’s a big difference between a calling that becomes a career and a career that was never initiated by a calling.
Those who answer the call are often well suited for many different types of secular work. In fact, several people move into ministry from secular positions taking their skills with them. Moses was trained in Egypt before leading Israel out of slavery. David’s fighting skills were honed while shepherding sheep. Elisha was a farmer before he became the prophet of God. The qualities he developed in farming – reliability, diligence, endurance, attention to detail, organization – were just as useful in ministry as they were in farming.
But the question is, why would anyone do that? Why would a person move from a successful career path in secular work, one they’ve worked hard to prepare for and succeed at, to take up a position in ministry?
Momma Called, Daddy Sent, Socially Ratified
Sad to say, some do this because others think they should. The response is induced by public opinion. Respected others become the basis for a call. And since the work itself is so desirable – ministry is thought of as doing only good things – it’s an easy shift.
The Bible does say ministry is good work.
If a man desires the office of Bishop, he desires a good thing (1 Timothy 3:1).
What it doesn’t say is that ministry is the only good work or that all other work is tainted, but that is the perception. Secular work is leprous. Ministry is heavenly. It’s all very pie in the sky.
The truth is, you don’t have to be in ministry to do good work.
Secular work isn’t partly dingy and ministry isn’t the purified version of vocation. In fact, sound theology teaches there is dignity in all work. Dignity being derived not from the nature of the work but from the way you perform it.
Another reason people opt for ministry is the call. They are called by God to the work of ministry and the calling is often attached to some specific location. A town or city.
But is that enough? Career oriented people tend to be decisive individuals. They’re focused. They visualize where they are going, they anticipate specific results and they make and own their choices. Allowing someone else to make those choices, even God, doesn’t sit well with these types.
So what is it that prompts them to leave a well defined career path and move into ministry apart from the call? What expectation captures their attention and keeps them focused on ministry?
In short, the answer is simple: [Read more…]