Upon my arrival to college to study to become a successful business man and preacher “on the side,” I encountered some very uncomfortable language. First of all, that language of “on the side” sounds harsh in and of itself. I came to the conclusion that if anything was going to be “on the side” it would be whatever business practice I ended up pursuing. Another phrase I was uncomfortable with is “going into ministry.” What does that even mean? What are you coming “out of” to “go into” ministry?
That language has no business entering the ears of anyone, much less someone who is considering ministry for a living. This may just be a pet peeve with words, but I believe every Christian is in ministry no matter what their occupation. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Peter did not just speak to the preachers, elders, and deacons. We are all priests, whether school teachers, administrators, bus drivers, nurses, maintenance workers, electricians, stay-at-home mommies etc. No Christian can avoid the call to ministry.
That last statement was another thing that made me uneasy. People would ask, “What is your calling?” I would always joke back, “I don’t know, I never got the phone call.” The language just sounds like everyone should have this great epiphany directly from God about what they are supposed to do in life. That is not how it works. Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Don’t miss it, “…that by testing you may discern…” People that sit around and wait for this call from God better not hold their breath. Knowing God’s will takes action and you can know it. Whatever your passion is and you decide to do, never forget that each of us entered ministry and its call the day we put on Christ in baptism. “Of this gospel I was made a minister…” (Ephesians 3:7a).