Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
Are You READY for the Ministry God Has Called You To?
The Bible makes it absolutely clear that every believer is called to “ministry” of one kind or another (1 Peter 4:10-11). This doesn’t mean everyone is called to be a pastor, of course, but we’ve all been given spiritual gifts of one kind or another—gifts that God expects us to use to advance His kingdom.
However, in addition to recognizing our CALLING as God’s ministers, we must also understand God’s processes to TRAIN and EQUIP us for the work we’ve been called to do.
So here are two vital questions today:
For years now, most American churches have largely relinquished their training responsibilities to seminaries, Bible colleges, and parachurch organizations. Many of these have done an excellent job, and we should be grateful for the service they’ve performed in helping to equip people for ministry. However, it’s time for local churches, or groups of churches in a region, to again fulfill their biblical mandate “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
No matter how a person seeks to be equipped for ministry, there are three crucial steps that will always be necessary. These are shown in the development of Ezra’s teaching ministry: “Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).
Ezra’s pattern is valuable for any of us who desire to be prepared for service: Study, do, and then teach.
Let’s take a closer look:
Study. Ezra’s teaching ministry came after he first set his heart to study the Word of God for himself. No matter how good the training is that we receive from others, there is no substitute for personally studying and meditating on the Scriptures. Proverbs 5:15 exhorts us: “Drink water from your own cistern, and fresh water from your own well.”
Do (practice what we’ve learned). Ezra saw that the goal of his studying was not merely to gain knowledge—it was to bring about obedience. Jesus made a similar point when He said that the man who built his house on a rock was the one who not only heard the Word, but also acted upon it (Matthew 7:24-27). We will have no authority to teach on scriptural principles that we’re not actually living.
Teach. We have a responsibility to share with others the things we have learned. Our training is deficient if it does not result in both doing the Word and also helping to equip others.
We must never forget that God Himself is the One who ultimately trains His people for ministry. Our hope must never be primarily in the human vessels or organizations He chooses to use. Rather, we must trust in the wisdom of His customized training plan—designed just for us. Our Heavenly Father knows best which means of training will best prepare us to fulfill His plans for our lives. And often the much critical key is our passionate hunger to fulfill His purposes—whatever that might take.
Although the Lord Himself is the master equipper, He has chosen to do much of the equipping through people. If we are wise, we will humble ourselves and receive from those He chooses to mentor us. And the biblical model of Ephesians 4:11-12 demonstrates that, whatever ministry we have, we should be equipping others to fulfill that same kind of ministry.
So I ask you two questions: Have you been adequately trained to fulfill the Lord’s purpose for your life? If so, are you actively training others, imparting to them the same lessons God has taught you?
Your answer to these questions will play a key role in determining your future fruitfulness and impact. God wants to get you ready!