Over the following month as I prepare for various ministry opportunities, I’m forced to take a step back and, once again, evaluate the depth of responsibility which my role entails. I recently had a friend ask me about my future direction and my parents’ response. I recalled a particular turning point, when my dad shared his perspective, in preparing for the ministry I am now privileged to partake in. He surprised me with his wisdom and understanding, actually, quite a firm reminder of what I am, as it were, getting myself into. The concerns he shared…
The first concern is responsibility. I’m young (if you must know, my 25th birthday just passed last Friday) and, as such, limited in my experience in life. The responsibility of ministry, particularly pastoral ministry, is not, by no means, light. The weight of responsibility in one’s input into the lives of the people around you. The last few years at my church has seen many naive, immature mistakes made, simply because I lack the experience to know better. I hope that I’ve learnt from my mistakes and there are things which I, simply, won’t touch because it is beyond me at this stage of life. I smile at the challenge ahead, the task of encouraging and nurturing the souls of believers, yet the responsibility weighs heavily on my heart. (Read my article ‘People need the Lord‘ for more thoughts.)
The second concern is security. This concern is, primarily, a human concern. It is the parental concern that ministry does not always, necessarily, provide a stable income. It is a stable position, without question, there’s always a place for me; however, the reality that one day there will be a wife and kids to support raises questions of stability. There is no doubt that ministry is grounded upon God’s provision, but it’s not so easy to dismiss the parental concern quickly. Nonetheless, it is a price I’m willing to pay and many times, some of you know, God has never let me be with need (for long, anyway).
The third concern, to a degree related to the second, is family. The challenge of ministry and family is one of the continual challenges many face in ministry. The balance between ministry and family life. Few people have not struggled with this. The problem is that matters of life and ministry overlap and the call of ministry is, necessarily, an interaction of the two arenas. Yet, it’ll be some time (so I reckon) before this becomes a concern for me, personally.
The fourth concern, probably the greatest concern, is spiritual warfare. Ministry and spiritual warfare go hand-in-hand and it would be foolish for anyone considering ministry not to realise the implications of undertaking this task. The Christian life is hard enough as it is, yet to take up the call to ministry is foolhardy for one who is wary of the difficulties ahead. I am far from prepared and equipped for the task, despite realising the challenges ahead; yet, there are two deep truths which I hold: 1) the God I serve is greater than any challenge that comes my way; and 2) the same God has called me undertake this task (see my article ‘Called to be me #1 / #2 / #3‘ for more thoughts).
After all I’ve said, you might think me crazy to continue walking the path I walk. Yet, we live in a crazy world, in crazy times; I am a crazy person who serves a crazy God, who’s love and heart for the people of this world was crazy enough that He sacrificed His own Son for this crazy world.