Arquivo da tag: Ministry

4 Realities to Help Discern a Vocational Call to Ministry

“In fact, I’ve several times in my call sensed God was even giving me freedom to choose where I served.”

“In fact, I’ve several times in my call sensed God was even giving me freedom to choose where I served.”

Discerning a call to vocational ministry can be a tiring and trying experience.

I’ve had the privilege of speaking with numerous young people and couples who are possibly experiencing a call to full-time, vocational missions or ministry. They don’t always know what they are supposed to do — usually not — but they know their vocation is to be a part of the mission of Christ.

Talking with people at this stage of life is one of my favorite things to do. It fuels me in ministry to help others process their call.

Having also wrestled through this issue years ago with two teenage sons makes this something very personal to me. Obviously I have my own experience in this area of wrestling through a call to vocational ministry. My wrestling was a 10 year process.

The counsel I gave my boys came to me suddenly one day. I’m not pretending it was inspired, but it certainly is a product of my personal experience and time spent with God struggling through this issue. I’ve used this teaching many times since then.

Basically I like to help people understand that the “call”, in my understanding, is not a call to a group of people or a geographic location as much as it is to a person; the person of Jesus Christ.

That’s important, because a lot of times someone begins to sense a calling after a mission trip to a certain area and feel as if that is the place they must go to serve God. That may be the place God wants to use them, but it could be that God just wants their availability, right where they are or elsewhere and God used the specific place to stir their heart towards serving vocationally.

I’m not saying He doesn’t send people to specific places or groups of people, but I do believe He reserves the right to change that at any time, because ultimately a person is called into a relationship with God first and a location second. In fact, I’ve several times in my call sensed God was even giving me freedom to choose where I served

After establishing that the ultimate call is to the person of Christ, I share a few principles. These are actually realities — based on my experience — of the vocational call. These won’t make the decision for the person. I can’t do that. They are intended to help someone think through their calling. The person who is sensing a call can often begin to discern that this IS the call based on the way they respond to these four words.

Four realities of call of God on a person’s life is:


You can’t refuse this kind of call and still live at peace with God. He will still love you. You may even be successful in what you are doing, but something will always eat at you until you surrender to this type of call. (Think of Jonah on the boat, attempting to run from God — even before the storm came.) That was the case in my situation. As much as I wanted success in business — and I had some — none of that brought me peace until I surrendered to God’s will for my life.


Nothing else will satisfy a person like this call. Nothing will fill that void — that emptiness. If God’s greatest desire for a person’s life on whom He places the “call”. I found no real joy in my work, until I was serving in the career choice God wanted me to serve.


God doesn’t take this call away from a person once He has placed it on their life. At times, especially when things are stressful in ministry, I have glanced at other opportunities, but I know I cannot go backwards from this call God has placed on my life. I may serve Him in a number of capacities and places over the years — I believe that could even be in business if He chose that. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as a pastor or in a local church — but I know one decision in my vocational career is solved — I work for Him. My end “product” of my life is advancing His mission — not mine.


The call of God on a person’s life begins at the moment of the call. Often people want to get the right degree or start drawing a paycheck before they live out the call God has placed on their life. I don’t believe that’s the call. The call is to “Go” and the time is NOW. (Jesus taught this reality in Matthew 8.) That doesn’t mean the person shouldn’t gain education, experience, or even a paycheck, but if a person has received a call from God on their life the time to get started doing something towards that call is now! When I realized a vocational call to ministry was being placed on my life, I started immediately; with no promise of income or position. I simply started serving people. Opportunities and specific assignments quickly followed.

Are you feeling those four words heavy on your heart? Perhaps God is trying to get your attention.

For a Biblical example of this type calling which includes each of these four points, read Jonah’s story again.

Have you wrestled or are you wrestling through a vocational call to ministry? What was your experience?

Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he’s been helping church grow vocationally for over 10 years.More from Ron Edmondson or visit Ron at

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Publicado por em 04/05/2015 em POIMENIA


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10 Ways to Improve Your Ministry Right Now

You have many options to strengthen your ministry.

You have many options to strengthen your ministry.

You have many options to strengthen your ministry.

Read a book. Attend a conference. Talk to another leader. Take a class, or earn another degree. Listen to a podcast. Watch a web seminar. All of these are worthwhile options, and I encourage you to consider them.

At the same time, here are some simple ways from the ministry of Jesus to improve your ministry today:

1. Agree up front to be obedient to God.

It was in the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus prayed, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39), but this cry marked His entire life. He left heaven and set His sights on a cross in Jerusalem from the beginning.

Your ministry can be stronger today if you can say with integrity, “Your will be done—whatever that is.”

2. Get over yourself.

Jesus was the Son of God, yet He pointed away from Himself to the Father. His desire was to please the Father always (John 8:29), following His commands even to His death (John 10: 17-18). Likewise, the Spirit of God points toward the Son (John 16:14).

Decide today that you are not the most important person in your ministry, and your work will be stronger.

3. Teach with clarity and relevance.

Those around Him said nobody ever taught with authority like Jesus did (Mark 1:27). He taught, though, with simple images relevant to His hearers. A farmer sowing seed. A mustard seed. Loaves and fish. Vineyards. A fig tree. Salt and light. Moths and rust. Houses and foundations.

If you want to improve your ministry today, remember your responsibility is to communicate the gospel, not impress with your knowledge or ability.

4. Take the gospel to nonbelievers.

That’s what the coming of Jesus was all about. He took on flesh to live our life and die our death. Jesus came so sinners could be redeemed. He came for the sick, not for the well (Matt. 9:12).

Take time today to tell somebody about the story of Jesus. You’ll likely find your ministry to be much more exciting because you did what Jesus did.

5. Develop gospel sensitivity to others.

Maybe you remember the story of the bleeding woman who touched Jesus’ garment in Mark 5. The Lord was quickly on His way to the home of Jairus, where a seeming emergency awaited: A little girl was dying. A large crowd pressed around Jesus, but still He felt the distinct touch of a desperate woman.

If you want to strengthen your ministry, ask God to help you today not to walk past hurting people.

6. Take somebody with you when you do ministry.

Jesus called His disciples to walk with Him, watch Him and listen to Him. Paul, too, followed Jesus’ model by sharing his life with Timothy (2 Tim. 3:10-11).

Inviting others to do ministry with us is time-consuming and often draining, but doing so is both protective (it provides accountability) and productive (it provides training). Find somebody to help you today.

7. Invest in two to three others.

Jesus had 12 disciples, of course, but He focused on Peter, James and John. He took them to the home of Jairus (Mark 5:35-43), the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-13) and the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42). They saw Him in His glory and in His agony.

You can strengthen your ministry by deciding to pour your life into two to three others today.

8. Release others, and then hold them accountable.

Too many leaders select others to serve with them, but then do everything anyway. Not so with Jesus. He modeled faithfulness for His followers, gave them instructions and sent them as His representatives (Luke 10:1-12). Upon their return, He corrected their misplaced priorities as He held them accountable (10:17-20).

Today, let your church members do their work, and then help them through supportive accountability.

9. Pray for your co-laborers.

Jesus prayed all night before calling His disciples (Luke 6:12-13). In His most intimate recorded prayer, He interceded for them and for those who would believe through their work (John 17). He taught them to pray (Matt. 6:5-13), including praying for laborers because the harvest is ripe (Matt. 9:37-38).

Spend significant time today praying for your co-laborers, and you might find their ministry boosts yours.

10. Get alone with God when you need it.

That’s what Jesus did. Even when the crowds wanted to hear Him and the sick wanted His healing, He prioritized time with the Father (Luke 5:15-16).

Push away from the crowds long enough to be renewed today, and then get back to the task. Your ministry will be stronger.

Tell us which of these 10 you want to work on, and we’ll pray with you. 

Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on Twitter @Clawlessjr and on at
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Publicado por em 04/05/2015 em POIMENIA



15 Concerns in Children’s Ministries

Are the children in your church vulnerable in any of these ways?

Are the children in your church vulnerable in any of these ways?

Recently, I spent time with a church that is upgrading their children’s wing. In the midst of those discussions, we talked about some of the common problems our Lawless Group consulting team sees in a children’s ministry. Here are 15 of those problems:

1. Too little space—Because children are active learners, rooms should be large enough to allow children to move around. In fact, some experts recommend a minimum of 25-35 square feet per child in the room.

2. Poor security—In many cases, our “secret shopper” parents choose not to leave their children in childcare because workers are unprepared for guests, do not seek contact information, do not have secure rooms and/or have no clear drop off/pick up procedure.

3. Old furniture—Children deserve clean, modern furniture that fits their stature. Adult tables and chairs don’t work well in a children’s department.

4. “Big people” decorations—I’m still surprised when I see bulletin boards at adult eye levels, high school age-graded maps and pictures with only adults in a children’s classroom. Somebody is not thinking enough about the learners in the room.

5. Incomplete sanitization—Infection spreads quickly through church nurseries and preschools, often because workers do not take adequate precautions to prevent it. We encourage workers to wear gloves when changing diapers, sanitize toys after their use and wash their hands continually.

6. Uncovered outlets—The younger the child, the less he/she recognizes the danger of an electrical outlet. This danger is easily reduced with an inexpensive outlet cover.

7. Windowless doors—Replacing doors is not inexpensive, but classroom doors should have windows. This change will not eliminate the possibility of abuse, but we must take every precaution we can.

8. No background checks or interviews for leaders—Despite potential controversy for the church that has never taken this step, no one who has not passed a background check should be permitted to work with minors. We also encourage interviews and reference checks with potential workers.

9. Securing incomplete information—Securing the name of a child attending a class or program is only a start. Leaders and teachers also need to be aware of a child’s allergies (e.g., nuts), the parents’ contact information and location, etc.

10. Poor teaching—Teachers who only lecture should probably not be teaching in the children’s department. Good children’s teachers focus on active learning while deeply loving the children they teach.

11. Too few adults—This issue is a difficult one, especially as congregations struggle to secure volunteers. Nevertheless, the standard should be clear: The church will avoid any situation where one adult is left alone with minors.

12. Leaders untrained for emergencies—It’s great for churches to have members who are nurses or EMT’s on call, but children’s leaders should know how to respond to a choking child, do CPR, operate a fire extinguisher, respond to a tornado warning and lead a class to evacuate the building if necessary.

13. Only minors providing childcare—I affirm the commitment to get teens involved in the work of the church, but minors alone should not be providing care for other minors. Even the wisest, most mature teens are still minors themselves.

14. No hall monitoring—Our consultants watch to see if children wander alone in church hallways during small group or worship time. Sadly, many do. If our shoppers could gain unimpeded contact with children, so can others with less pure motives.

15. Children released on their own—No child (even the staff’s children) should be released after a class or service unless an adult—a properly identified adult—comes to get him/her. Uncontrolled drop off and release times can be chaotic … and dangerous.

God really does love the little children—and so should we. What other suggestions would you add to strengthen children’s ministries?

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Publicado por em 02/05/2015 em POIMENIA


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6 Reasons Not to Abandon Expository Preaching – Don Carson

Puritan theologian William Perkins wrote that preaching “has four great principles: to read the text distinctly, from canonical Scripture; to give it sense and understanding according to the Scripture itself; to collect a few profitable points of doctrine out of its natural sense; and to apply, if you have the gift, the doctrines to the life and manner of men in a simple and plain speech.”

There is something refreshingly simple about that description. Our aim as preachers is not to be the most erudite scholar of the age. Our aim is not to titillate and amuse. Our aim is not to build a big church.


Our aim is to take the sacred text, explain what it means, tie it to other scriptures so people can see the whole a little better, and apply it to life so it bites and heals, instructs, and edifies. What better way to accomplish this end than through expository preaching?

Benefits of Exposition

Some use the category “expository preaching” for all preaching that is faithful to Scripture. I distinguish expository preaching from topical preaching, textual preaching, and others, for the expository sermon must be controlled by a Scripture text or texts. Expository preaching emerges directly and demonstrably from a passage or passages of Scripture.

There are a number of reasons why expository preaching deserves to be our primary method of proclamation.

1. It is the method least likely to stray from Scripture.

If you are preaching on what the Bible says about self-esteem, for example, undoubtedly you can find some useful insights. But even when you say entirely true things, you will likely abstract them from the Bible’s central story line. Expository preaching keeps you to the main thing.

2. It teaches people how to read their Bibles.

Especially if you’re preaching a long passage, expository preaching teaches people how to think through a passage, how to understand and apply God’s Word to their lives.

3. It gives confidence to the preacher and authorizes the sermon.

If you are faithful to the text, you are certain your message is God’s message. Regardless of what is going on in the church—whether it is growing or whether people like you—you know you are proclaiming God’s truth. That is wonderfully freeing.

4. It meets the need for relevance without letting the clamor for relevance dictate the message.

All true preaching is properly applied. That is of extraordinary importance in our generation. But expository preaching keeps the eternal central to the discussion.

5. It forces the preacher to handle the tough questions.

You start working through text after text, and soon you hit passages on divorce, on homosexuality, on women in ministry, and you have to deal with the text.

6. It enables the preacher to expound systematically the whole counsel of God. 

In the last 15 years of his life, John Calvin expounded Genesis, Deuteronomy, Judges, Job, some psalms, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, the major and minor prophets, the Gospels in a harmony, Acts, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and the pastoral epistles.

I’m not suggesting we organize ourselves exactly the same way. But if we are to preach the whole counsel of God, we must teach the whole Bible. Other sermonic structures have their merits, but none offers our congregations more, week after week, than careful, faithful exposition of the Word of God.

Editors’ Note: This article originally appeared in the summer 1996 issue of Leadership Journal. You can access hundreds of Carson articles, lectures, and sermons in the TGC Resource Database.

Don Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield,



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Publicado por em 11/11/2013 em POIMENIA


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Confessions of an Insignificant Pastor

Confessions of an Insignificant Pastor is a loaded title. Dr. Mark Elliott has written about real life pastors in real

life ministries – places where the “mega-church” hasn’t birthed it’s first baby yet … and doesn’t look like it will.


Elliott mentions some amazing statistics in the preface … statistics that drove him to write this book.


  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month!
  • 80% of ministers feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  •  80% of new pastors will leave the ministry within their first five years!
  • 80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession and feel their ministry spouse is overworked.
  • 70% of pastors constantly battle with depression!
  • 50% of ministers would leave the ministry if they had another way of earning an income!
  • 85-90% of pastors said their greatest problem is dealing with problem people and disgruntled people.


This book is written to you, the pastor who “feels like a nobody from nowhere.” InConfessions he tells us why pastors feel so insignificant. He sights issues like pastors not knowing exactly what they are doing and the emotional baggage pastors carry. Chapter titles like, “Size Matters Too Much to Me,” “I Work Too Much” and then “I’m Not Bill, Andy, Rick or Ed,” reflect the realities of ministerial life in the trenches.


In a rather honest chapter (I mean they all are, but this one seems to me to be evenmore right on) entitled, “I’m Disillusioned by the Ministry,” Elliott ponders the idea that, “Perhaps the bill of goods we are sold from the local church pulpit and our Bible colleges lead us to make some false assumptions about how easy, safe, and positive ministry can be.” He then explores the hope and healing such a revelation can bring to the pastor who feels insignificant.


This is a great book; One whose time is long overdue! You will want to read it for three reasons:


  • It’s real
  • It’s practical
  • It’s encouraging!



Mark Elliott is a man with a variety of ministry experience as a youth pastor, worship pastor, outreach pastor, small group pastor, church planter, and senior pastor. He has pastored in Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Maryland, and Wisconsin. He has served in churches as small as three and as large as six thousand. Elliott has ministered abroad in 15 countries. He has two earned Master of Arts degrees and an earned Doctor of Ministry degree.


During a thirty-year career in pastoral ministry, Mark Elliott has written and produced religious radio broadcasts, written articles for religious magazines, written in four different chapter compilation books, and also written hundreds of sermons. You can learn more about him and the book at his website.


You can listen to my two-part interview with Dr. Mark Elliott here.


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Publicado por em 09/03/2012 em POIMENIA


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