In times of discouragement, remember your call.
As the music began to play softly, I could sense in my spirit that it was time to commit to God’s call on my life entirely. While I knew for years that he was calling me into ministry, it was at this moment that I felt as if I needed to decide to either follow him or the world, but I could not have both.
That day, I attended a district prayer and fasting service in the Southern Florida District and knew God’s pull on my heart succinctly. I felt the warming in my spirit and the inner voice that said, Give it all to me now. I began white-knuckling the chair in front of me, not wanting to go forward, but felt the Holy Spirits’ presence and slowly walked to the altar. I did not know what lay ahead, but I knew Who would be at the head of my life, guiding me each step of the way.
God’s call has sustained me through some harsh days and glorious celebrations throughout the years. I wonder what would have happened if I had not truly understood the call on my life and ignored what he was saying to me.
What about you? Do you know the call on your life? If you know the why behind the call, you have the key that unlocks the purpose for your life. If you do not know who you serve, why you serve and where you serve, I guarantee that you will get to a place where you will walk away from ministry disgusted by the actions of those connected to the church. Serving God is more than just standing in a pulpit and sharing a message; it is a life fully committed to him.
Who do you serve?
Think back to the last time you sat at a church board table, preparing your heart, mind and soul for the questions that would be asked by members who formed the church search committee. While polity dictates specific steps in calling a pastor, you need to remember that the Holy Spirit guides the process. Carnal individuals have tried to remove the spirit of God from the process in the past, but God always wins out by directing the board and pastoral candidate into a relationship that he sees fit. Sometimes it is a call to the church, and other times it is away from the church. Serving God is all about fully committing yourself to his will, direction and calling on your life.
Why do you serve?
The past two years have been rough. You had to make decisions on the fly, mediate between waring mask factions, navigate political and personal minefields, all while watching a portion of your congregation leave the church and never return. In this season of uncertainty, it’s had to cross your mind at least once about giving up or moving to the next church. So, what keeps you serving where you are? Hopefully, you were able to say it is God. If it is people, programs or property, that can all be taken away in a flash, or in this case, a pandemic.
Think about it this way: It is not by accident you serve in your current assignment. God has called you to lead your people faithfully by preaching his Word, discipling and helping people strengthen their relationship with Christ through a personal walk with him. It is not your job to discern political tea leaves, so leave all of that alone and love people as Christ has loved you. Forgive people as Christ has forgiven you. Be the pastor your people need you to be. Be more like Christ.
Where do you serve?
I sometimes sit in the church parking lot and stare at the building where I pastor. I never really thought about it, but it must be an odd sight to see someone sitting in their car looking at a church. The truth is, I usually am talking to God.
In this time of reflecting, I think about previous pastors, the decisions they had to make, the dreams that did not get completed, and the promises that God has revealed to me for this time in the church’s life. I have taken one nugget of truth from countless stare visits; my church address and location are not there by accident. A church planter or a committee selected the site guided by the Holy Spirit to reach a specific geographic area with the gospel. While you may think your address is an accident, it is instead a divine revelation by God. It truly is holy ground.
Let me say that again: Your address is a divine revelation from God. Yes, the place that at times drives you crazy has been divinely planted to reach the lost, broken and hurting with the gospel of grace, hope and love, and you have a significant part to play.
What you do matters. The who, why and where is essential to the God story written through your ministry. The next time you feel you want to give up, think back to your calling, your moment of surrender, and then recommit to serve him as a small gesture of thankfulness for God serving you through Jesus.