What is your ministry challenge?
Please understand I feel that there is a difference between ministry challenge and ministry desires. I have come to believe over the past 40 years that my ministry challenges (what God had me doing at that moment in time for him) was not always my desire. However, it was my calling for that moment.
The Apostle Paul puts it best in Acts 16 where Paul desire to go certain places an preach, and the Holy Spirit said No. Was the desire wrong, I don’t personally believe so. A statement that is used around our church is “Is it Good or God” there can be some Good ministry opportunities, but it is not in God’s plan for you.
Within the first 10 years of ministry I attempted to pastor 4 churches. Honestly none of them were what any of us would call successes. However, also within that time I served as Associate Pastor of some churches with what many would call successful. Now having been in ministry for 40 years I have realized that Pastoring is not my calling. However, excepting the Ministry Challenge of serving as 2nd man is.
Ephesians 4: 1 I have come to believe this verse should be the foundation of our Ministry Challenge … Do I walk worthy of my vocation? It is ironic that the Greek word for vocation is also translated “Calling” … Paul had a vocation or calling to minister where God lead within the opportunities and talents God gave him. Paul was a Greek trained, Jewish Pharisee that God prepared to minister to the Gentiles throughout the region. Paul could have stood in the same rooms as Aristotle, Socrates and challenged them to think differently.
Forty years ago, I took my first Associate pastor position at just 19 years old, since then I have thrived within this position always having a sense of purpose and joy. Within that position of Associate, I have been involved in the educational process of believers whether serving as a youth pastor, children’s pastor, men’s leader, or president of a local church school of ministry with a world-wide impact.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I go back to my original question: What is your
ministry challenge? God has a ministry challenge for you personally, and he will reveal it and use you personally in great ways as you walk worthy of your vocation (calling) …
However, we need three things to be successful in the vocation (calling).
1) We need a personal relationship with God the father, his Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Be willing to listen to them speak and move us in the calling they have, not the calling of my parents, pastors, friends, or well-meaning individuals. As Pastors used to say when I was in Bible college “We have enough Momma called Daddy sent preachers and if you are one of them go home and don’t waste our time”
2) We need a group of individuals that you trust (Mature Christians … This should include pastors and lay-people) that can speak honestly about what God is saying to you and pray with you to hear the voice of God and not of men.
3) We need to become a Student of the Word of God, and by doing this we see how God moved in the past lives of his saints and we will see how he can and will move and lead in your personal vocation (calling).
Friends, today I have embraced my vocation (calling) with all my education and experience I still serve as the 2nd man to an awesome pastor. Yes, by title I’m the President of a School of Ministry a title I resisted for several years. However, if you ask me personally “what is your ministry challenge” it is simple “Help Dr. Roger Webb reach a world for Christ through the Ministry of Grace Church of the Valley. Yes, it is true that God has seen fit to give me the additional Ministry Challenge of impacting lives within a Mental Health Hospital as a Chaplain, ironically, I view that as a great teaching opportunity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, find and accept your ministry challenge and move forward with what God has for you to accomplish.