Do You Have A Ministry Call?

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Have you ever felt as though you had a ministry call from God?

As Christian believers, everything we do in life—including our vocation—has both present and eternal value when we are serving God from the heart. (Col 3:23-24)

I regularly hear from readers who have a call from God for a particular aspect of ministry. Having a sense of destiny for a unique, God-ordained purpose can be a powerful motivator, regardless of whether the ministry is full-time, part-time or voluntary.

Usually, there is a process of preparation as we await the opportunity and timing to fulfil God’s call. It’s not unusual to experience trials and difficulty in relation to the call of God.

God called me to preach when I was just 15 years old. Over the years, I have learned that you can run away from His call, or you can run towards it, but you certainly can’t ignore it!

Last week I looked at the subject of personal guidance and if you haven’t read my post ‘Personal Guidance For The Important Decisions Of Life’, I encourage you to do so in conjunction with this article. Today I am focusing on a vital key that needs to be in place before taking action on a ministry call. [1]

That key is accountability.

The Power of Accountability and Leadership

Last week I gave the example of Abraham, who followed the call of God to Canaan. (Gen 12:1-5)

In the New Testament, God speaks to the individual regarding His destiny for his or her life, but the witness of that guidance is found in the church body and in leadership.

In the New Testament church, our Father has designed us to be interdependent upon each other, not independent. (1 Cor 12) [2]

Paul’s Example

The Apostle Paul had a clear call to ministry from God, that was confirmed by prophecy and accompanied by great signs, including an open vision of Jesus.

However, we see that he did not enter into the fulness of that call until the Holy Spirit spoke to the leadership of the Antioch church. Once sent by his church, he returned regularly to report in. (Acts 13:1-3, Acts 14:26-28).

Paul in turn recognised the ministry call of others such as Timothy and Titus, and released and appointed them to minister. Not only were they called, ready and available; they had also demonstrated a history of faithfulness in serving Paul himself.

Personal Lessons in Accountability

Prophetic Accountability, Helen CalderI have not always been good at accountability; in fact my call to ministry would have been seriously undermined (at worst, shipwrecked) if I had not learned some difficult lessons about responding to authority.

This cartoon is from my book, ‘Prophetic People In A Changing Church’ and demonstrates a significant error that many of us have when it comes to guidance. [3]

I call it the ‘hotline to God’ philosophy.

This is the misguided belief that revelation we receive personally from God is not subject to leadership and godly wisdom.

Accountable to Whom?

‘For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.’ Prov 11:14

Our local church leadership should be a vital source of accountability to us.

Many times our leaders and pastors know us well and are familiar with:

  • Our attitudes and actions
  • What we are good at
  • How we are going in our character and family life
  • Any blind spots that we need to consider
  • Our love for people and willingness to serve

The accountability that comes from our church life can also be painful, which is why many of us avoid or circumvent it.

Some reasons for this include:

  • Fear that we will miss God’s timing if we submit the power of decision-making about our call to others
  • Distrust of authority in general due to past abuses, or
  • Mistrust of our leaders in particular if there have been hurts, misunderstandings, or we are judgmental of them for any reason

By God’s grace, we can work through these things and become stronger.

If there is irreparable damage in your relationship to your church leaders, or valid grounds for mistrust (as I understand there can sometimes be), then it may be wise to take another look at your reasons for being in your local church.

These issues will not only affect your ministry call, they will also affect your ability to have a significant input in your church life, and your ability to faithfully serve the vision of the leaders in that environment. Inevitably, your responses will also affect others around you.

The bottom line, as Steve McCracken puts it, is, ‘Do you believe you are in the church where God wants you to be?’ If the answer is yes, and you know you are planted in a church according to God’s will, then the Biblical principles of accountability to leadership apply.

Other Accountability

Of course, there are other sources of accountability available to us. I recommend having more than one trusted leader or mentor that you can go to, who can give you wise input about your decisions concerning your call to ministry.

You may be involved in a Christian organisation, as I am with David McCracken Ministries, where you have godly Christian leadership.

Remember that a safe mentor or leader is one who understands and practices accountability (is submitted to authority) himself or herself.

These should also be wise, experienced leaders who know what it is to exercise faith.

Trusting God for Your Ministry Call

A ministry call frequently has strong emotions attached to it, because of

  • our love for God,
  • our heart for the people we are called to minister to
  • our concern about any problems our Father has called us to be a part of the solution to

We need to remember that God is sovereign. I have learned over many years that He is faithful, and that when we keep our hearts right, His will and word must prevail.

An inability to trust others in the process of being released and appointed to fulfil God’s call on our life can be a sign that we do not trust our Heavenly Father.

We are tested when we trust Him during times when the power to fulfil that call does not lie within our own ability to make it happen. [4] As we keep our hearts right, even during times of apparent contradiction, nothing and no one can stop the Father’s plan.

Benefits of Accountability

Some benefits of accountability include:

  • Confirmation
  • An invaluable test of timing
  • The added wisdom of others
  • An outside perspective on any weaknesses or blind spots
  • Commissioning is something to recall and hold on to when we go through trials

But the most important benefit of accountability has to do with the release of God-ordained authority that comes with it.

I believe that commissioning (Apostolic sending), as practiced by the Apostle Paul, is vitally important to ministry. [5]

Recently, my pastor and church leadership team anointed me and prayed, released and commissioned me to join the team at David McCracken Ministries.

At times like these, I believe a transaction takes place. There is blessing in unity. And we receive a commission and anointing for our new season of ministry.


Notes:

[1] Accountability is also beneficial to any significant change in life direction. This is especially true if you have a family or others who will be impacted by your decisions.

[2] See my article, Not Word Perfect: Understanding How Prophecy Works In The Church Today

[3] I understand the pain that can be inflicted through abuse of authority. For my personal journey and lessons learned about overcoming hurts related to authority, see my e-book Prophetic People in a Changing Church

[4] A great example of this is Joseph. For more on this, see my post ‘Personal Guidance For The Important Decisions Of Life’


© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog

On team with David McCracken Ministries


Do you have any experiences or questions to share about having a call to ministry? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.


14 thoughts on “Do You Have A Ministry Call?

  1. Lolli

    I am trying to grow in my relationship with Christ and find the body of believers where I belong. I had a friend whom I know now that I relied too much on for guidance and when she left our previous church( plus the previous church to this one), I sought and sought God to know where I should go? She was prophesied to by the pastor’s wife that when she began to do the new thing, some of her friends would leave and not to worry because they didn’t like her anyway. Needless to say this put me in bondage to my friend wherein I felt that if I wasn’t a good friend and didn’t do everything to be a good friend I wouldn’t do the new thing. I don’t even know what the new thing is or if there even is a new thing. I vistited her church and was given a prophecy concerning this church being my family and where I needed to be. I left my church hoping this was the answer because they prophesy every Sunday and they do personal deliverance ministry. I went through this personal ministry and battled depression and suicide. When those episodes passed I then went back into church to only hear from the pulpit things I believe were directed at me, things which only sought to further debilitate me and make me feel hopeless, unvaluable, and unloved by God. I am afraid to go back to this church and I am afraid to talk to people for not having enough faith, I’m afraid to listen to God for fear i will hear the wrong voice, I’m afraid to ask people for help for putting my trust in man. I’ve been going to another church but I don’t know these people well enought to go and tell them all of my problems. My biggest issue is I don’t know who I am or where I belong which makes it difficult for me to learn about authority when I am battling how to trust and who to trust again. I’m not even sure if I have a question for you, maybe I just felt I needed to get this out. I desire to grow closer to God, and know this is a test of faith to draw me closer to Him, but I have some serious confusion going on and it doesn’t help that I don’t have anyone in authority (or who head a church) who I feel that I can go to, except for one couple, but I don’t want them to classify me as crazy. I’m sorry for such a long post, but perhaps someone else has been through this same thing and can tell me how to come out of it because God brought them through it.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Dear Lolli,
      Thank you for sharing your story. You are not alone in your experiences and I’m sure many can relate to what you have been through.
      I understand from your note that you have now distanced yourself from the person you relied on for guidance, and the church she was involved with? I believe that where there has been an unhealthy relationship, it is important to break all ties. It is good also to find a church community that is safe and healthy (remembering no church is perfect!), although I understand when you have been hurt it can take some time to trust again. If you believe that God has led you to this new church, then pray about approaching someone in leadership to share as much of your story as you feel comfortable in doing so. It would be helpful to have someone pray for you regarding the other situation you have been in.
      Be totally assured that you can personally hear from God, that your Heavenly Father loves you, and He wants to lead you by His Spirit and speak personally to you from His word, the Bible. He is firstly and foremostly your Safe Place, and He will lead you to people who will be safe too–who won’t manipulate, control, or accuse, but will express His grace towards you.
      You are precious to Him.

  2. irene Kyriacou

    Hi Helen, what you have written is very Powerful, “As we keep our hearts right, even during times of apparent contradiction, nothing and no one can stop the Father’s plan.” How true,
    ” In a multitude of counsellors there is Safety “. I suppose accountability and safety go hand in hand. How Wonderful to know that GOD is Our FATHER, and HE ALWAYS wants the BEST for us.

    The LOVE of GOD is like an Ocean Flooding Over me
    Healing, Restoring, Refreshing, Renewing me
    HIS LOVE is Ever Abounding
    HIS LOVE is ALWAYS Surrounding
    HIS LOVE is Completely Astounding
    HIS LOVE Will Enrapture you, and Completely Capture you
    HIS Plan, HIS Purpose, HIS Destiny
    Was Always for Humanity
    To be Reconciled back to The FATHER’S HEART, you See
    HIS BLOOD, HIS MERCY, HIS LOVE, HIS GRACE
    This LOVE has a FACE
    This LOVE is always abounding in Truth, Goodness, Mercy and GRACE

    Like The Star in the Sky
    YOU are The APPLE of HIS EYE
    YOU are SO PRECIOUS in HIS SIGHT
    YOU are HIS DELIGHT
    How can we ever Comprehend, The LOVE of GOD, that has NO END
    How can we ever Conceive, HIS Infinite Wisdom, Power, Glory and Majesty
    The FACE of GOD you SEE, in JESUS CHRIST HIS Majesty
    HIS is all Authority, in Heaven and Earth through all ETERNITY

    Poem By Irene Kyriacou

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi there Irene,
      Yes that’s the thing that everything comes back to, Father’s love for us is so great that we can rest in the assurance that He always wants the best for us!
      Thank you for your beautiful poetry. What an incredible gift…may I encourage you to consider starting a blog or website, you have such a flow and could easily produce regular new poems. You could call it ‘Prophetic Poetry’ or something like that! xo

  3. Mark Powers

    Dear Helen,

    I received a calling to do street ministry just over a year ago. My primary focus has been homeless peoples in Phoenix AZ.

    I have followed your guidlines for accountabilty and am grateful that I found your site.

    My Pastor initiated the process of accountability and the ministry is under the direction of my Pastor and I was also assigned an elder to report to.

    My dilema is I am not completely sure I am in the right church.
    I have prophetic gifting and am spirit filled (gift of tongues) as well as mercy and healing.

    I have been delivered and healed from many afflictions to include alchoholism, drug addiction, mental illness and the associated dis-orders or rather spiritual maladies that come with these afflictions.

    My Pastor nor my church operate in the gifts of the spirit nor are there any teachings on these subjects. I adressed the issue of prophetic ministry with my Pastor and he replied He is not familiar with this.

    I have a strong desire to learn about these gifts and believe The Lord has called me to pursue healing and deliverence.

    My Pastor has suggested that it may be possible that my calling may be beyond the scope of the church and is willing to release me to The Lord’s leadership.

    I would greatly appreciate your insight on these issues.

    In Christ

    Mark Powers

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Dear Mark, thank you for your note—your dilemma is relevant to many Christians in church life today.
      What a wonderful work God has done in your life!
      I can only make a response based on the information you have sketched out; whereas the reality is that there are always many factors involved in a situation like this. But here are a few thoughts:
      1. As far as whether you are in the right church: that is something that is between you and God—a matter of prayer. But in relation to this it may be good to consider a few things. Firstly, that if you do change churches, it takes time to build a history of faithfulness and for your new leaders to know you well enough for you to benefit from accountability to them.
      2. There is a significant difference in practice and values if you are a Spirit-filled Christian in a non-Charismatic church. However, if you ARE in God’s appointed church for you, then these differences are not unsurpassable. (The reality is that there will always be differences in values between our church leaders and ourselves because of our unique ministries, gifts and passions)
      3. As far as accountability in your ministry situation. I believe it is beneficial to have mentors who input into different areas in our lives and ministry. You could ask your pastor and elder what area they would be willing to provide accountability in a specific area (e.g. character, family, relational issues etc) and in addition to this find accountability for your actual gifts, calling and ministry from someone (or an organisation) who is reputable (and themselves accountable) outside of your church. But a lot of care needs to go into this, especially with a calling to healing and deliverance ministry.
      4. If it does take time to be established and grow in your gifts and calling, trust in God’s faithfulness and sovereignty. He will surely bring these things to pass as you keep your heart right before Him and honour the leaders He gives you.

      Mark, I pray God’s blessing upon you and that you will have His Divine wisdom as you pray through these things and make decisions about your calling.

  4. Mark Powers

    Dear Helen,
    Thank you so much for such a quick reply.
    I understand your suggestions and will earnestly pray for God’s wisdom in these matters.
    Mark

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      You are so welcome. What a wonderful calling and so dear to the heart of the Father. May you fulfil it entirely, as you pursue and love Jesus with all your heart.

  5. shirley scroggins

    Helen thank you for this opportunity, yes I have a ministry calling, first of all God told me he called me to stand in the gap, and I am over our church’s prayer band, my problem is that my church congregation is most of all young people and I am in my late 60’s so my Pastor seems to not know how to correspond with me very well, I need encouragement and conversation also, someitmes I feel so not a real part of everything the church is doing, I am, but I guess I just want to hear from the Pastor, and now I have lost a lot of my fervenance and desires, but I know that God is the final judge, I just want him to be please with me, I don’t feel like I am living up to God’s expectations of me. Do you think it’s the age?

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Shirley,
      Thank you for leaving your note.
      It sounds to me as though you are feeling a bit disconnected and also discouraged… and I understand, I have been involved in intercessory prayer for many years, and also recently led prayer in our church for a number of years. I would love you to read a copy of my book, ‘Prophetic People in a Changing Church,’ so if you read this reply, let me know if you can receive a large size file via email, and I will email you a free copy. I don’t believe anything, age included, needs to come between us and our leaders, or our passon and involvement in the church.
      I look forward to hearing from you (leave another comment if you would like the free e-book)

  6. Maria Arrington

    It seems when I’m about to start ministry @ my church , I seemed to be sat down @ home everything will be going well @ church, I’m in nursing ministry at this time but when called to do something else it seems like God sits me down at home
    I stay in wosphip an praying an reading about my gifts but I feel like he ( God ) is placing me on hold. In isolation for a purpose. I’m not understanding concerning my calling.

  7. Samantha

    Helen,

    I read your recent post and followed a trail from there to here :). I always enjoy reading your wisdom! What advice can you share on church families and finding where you are called to be? I can tell this subject is near and dear to your heart.

    Due to some set backs within my family and a specific rejection issue with my pastor- I am no longer attending my long term church. I miss it but it was as if God gave me a time out from it and showed me He was and is my Good Shepherd and as one of your posts said he confirmed in me I could hear from him on my own too. I think I was not putting enough stock in God’s ability to use me. Anyway now I have been hearing a lot about the value of church but don’t feel released (through dreams, bible study and prayer) to go back to the church either. I do not want to miss anything God has and I know I need that leadership to grow. God has brought me to your ministry and a few others which are incredible. Any thoughts or biblical wisdom is appreciated!

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Samantha, I really appreciate you asking these questions. I would love to send you a copy of my eBook ‘Prophetic People in a Changing Church’ as I believe it could help you and I share my journey. Contact us here if you would like a copy as I’m away from the office for a couple of weeks now: http://www.davidmccracken.org/contact-us/

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