Saturday, February 9

Is there such a thing as "called to full-time ministry?"


I am getting ready to go to camp tomorrow to speak to 200 youth on the subject of God's call to full-time ministry. Most of those listening to me tomorrow will certainly consider me--the missionary--to be somebody in full-time ministry. But I would argue the point that people like me are actually one step removed from full-time ministry! Most of my day revolves around other believers. Those who actually live, work, and study out in the secular world are potentially in a much better position to engage in meaningful ministry.

Jesus did not call us to remove ourselves from the world, but to be salt and light in the midst of the world.  Many of us so-called "full-time" ministers spend little time in the real world for which Christ died.

I agree with what Dale Losch writes, "The dichotomous notion that religious work is ministry and secular work is not has been very harmful. Speaking of the tragic disconnect between the world and the church, author Dorothy Sayers lamented: How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of life!"

What I hope to share tomorrow with the youth is that where they live, work, study, and play is the most strategic place of ministry for any follower of Jesus. We must be intentional in all the relationships the Lord has allowed us to have. And realize that 'making disciples' where we are is our full-time job, but that doesn't mean we have to leave our secular job to do so!

Earlier this week I had coffee with a young man who is a medical student. He "gets this" about as well as anybody I have met in a long time.  During the week he has started a cell group at the university with his fellow medical students, has a house church in his home, and on weekends travels to a neighboring town for a new church plant with the rural poor. In his mind he is a full-time minister of the Gospel. I couldn't agree more.

Just imagine if all of Jesus' followers were actively engaged in making disciples where they lived, worked, studied, and played?  I believe that was the way it was in the first century where every one of Jesus followers was part of his called-out, chosen people, royal priesthood, part of his holy nation, and a people belonging to God, that all of us together might declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)

8 comments:

Tim A said...

1 Cor. 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Whatever is done for the glory of God is ministry.

Col. 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Whatever we do, our greatest reward is from Christ because it is He that we are serving.

1 Cor. 15:58,59

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

The only "therefore" after Paul's instruction on the power of resurrection is to instruct on "always giving yourself fully" to the work of the Lord. This was written to Corinthian businessmen, not clergy.

Full time ministry for clergy only, is a bogus heresy

J. Guy Muse said...

Tim,

Thanks for sharing these Scriptures which are highly relevant to the post today.

John Nix said...

At the end you quoted many of my favorite scriptures...unless I were to say the whole Bible is my favorite scripture. But we are all full time disciples, wherever we are. Learning to live in the moment and not the past or the future helps us to know what God is asking us to do on any particular day.

J. Guy Muse said...

John,

To get a true grasp of I Pet. 2:9 is a challenge for us all. A truly amazing Scripture passage. I believe if we were to fully comprehend what these words are saying we would be a totally different Body of believers!

Darrell said...

It is sad that the biggest reason people think that there is full time professionals is how "Church" is run.

If church looked like a family then everyone would understand that its everyone's role to be doing their part in the family.

This whole "Clergy/Laity" has got to go!

J. Guy Muse said...

Darrell,

I like the way you put it when you say, everyone's role to be doing their part in the family. When we understand that we are all priests, ministers, called-out ones, part of God's family, etc. then things will be dramatically different in the church!

David Webb said...

Guy, this is really good, - I've shared it - hope that's OK... I think things are rapidly changing and the biggest change has to be in the way we see things...

I trust that the Youth conference goes well ...

J. Guy Muse said...

David,

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to share in any way you think might be helpful to others. Would love for our paths to cross again someday. Last time was in Antioch eating bakklava at that downtown restaurant!