Wednesday, April 25, 2012

When is the right time to enter the ministry?

I wrestled with this question for years: when is the right time to enter the ministry?  A little background might help.  The Lord Jesus saved me at sixteen and I experienced a pretty radical transformation.  I knew I desired to serve Him with my life somehow.  So you could say that my call to ministry came soon after my conversion as a teenager.  But I knew that I lacked training, so I went to Bible college and seminary.  That took approximately 10 years of my life—I also gained a cute wife and three precious kids during that time.  But over those years I wrestled with when I would be “ready” to begin full-time ministry.  Even between college and seminary I wrestled with the decision to either find a ministry position or further my education.  I think it is right to say that for many years I did not believe that I was ready.  A quote that I stumbled across today during my sermon prep may have helped me in those days and may be a help to someone else in the future:

“No matter how much exegesis, theology, and counseling one has studied, one is never ‘prepared for the ministry.’  A genuine call to ministry always calls us to that which we are not adequately prepared.  It is only in awareness of such that the Christian experiences the presence and promise of Jesus Christ, and learns to depend not on human capabilities but on the one who calls and in the power of the proclamation to authenticate itself.” (James Edwards The Gospel of Mark, p. 183) 

Now I fully trust in the sovereignty of God and His timing for me to enter ministry.  Furthermore, I think there is wisdom in waiting a little longer to enter ministry rather than taking a pastorate early in life.  Life experience is a huge help in ministry and I know very few men in their early twenties who have the maturity to shepherd.   But for myself, there may have been more of a tendency to trust in developing my own capabilities rather than depending on Christ and His strength.  With that said, when is the right time to enter ministry?  My answer: when you are keenly aware that your own human capabilities are nothing and the presence and promise of Christ are everything!  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Reason I Will Only Blog Occasionally

My goal for blogging after seminary was to continue in the discipline of writing. I enjoyed setting up a blog and tried at one point to post something once a week.  It has been fun and for the handful of people who actually took the time to read my stuff I am humbled and say thank you.

I initially posted reasons for starting a blog and mentioned that if it interfered with family time then I would stop posting. While I do not feel it has threatened my family time, I wrestle with the decision if it is the best use of time for my spiritual family—my church.    I desire to be the hardest-working pastor by the grace of God that I can be.  The words of Peter are a continual reminder to me of my responsibility:

“shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you…And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:2,4).

If I knew that the majority of the folks in my church read what I posted and it edified them in some way, they I would more eagerly post on a weekly basis.  But I have a hunch that very few people in my congregation are reading what I post and it is mostly friends from seminary and other pastors who read my stuff.  I am not a pastor to pastors (John Piper and John MacArthur are these men) so I need to focus my energy on Cornerstone Baptist Church in Orange City Iowa for now.   If you read this, I would appreciate a brief prayer for me and my church.  I love the local church, because Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph 5:25).  There are many Christian leaders who have great platforms and should blog regularly.  I am not one of them and this is why I choose to be an occasional blogger for now.  My ministry energy is completely focused as the full-time pastor in a small Baptist church.

When I do post occasionally, it will probably be geared toward biblical manhood and masculinity or something family related.  Again, thanks to those of you who take the time to read my stuff.