September 26, 2020
Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness (Matthew 10:1).
In continuing with the examination of those called to ministry, we should understand that not all people called to ministry will serve as pastors. God calls people to serve as missionaries, evangelists, teachers, church leaders, and ministry leaders as well. John MacArthur identifies four phases to ministry preparation for the disciples that should also be considered for all areas of ministry today.
First, servants of the Lord must be saved. All ministries in and through the church must have the goal of leading people to faith or discipling people in faith in Jesus Christ. How can that be done if the one ministering doesn’t know Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior? It would be tantamount to the blind leading the blind. This was the major problem with the elders of Israel in the days of Jesus. They knew about God, but they didn’t know God. That’s one of the reasons they didn’t accept Jesus as their Messiah but rejected and crucified Him.
Second, servants of the Lord must be called to service. All Christians are called to serve the Lord according to the gift(s) given to them by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). For a Christian to attempt to serve the Lord in an area in which he/she is not gifted is not only not fulfilling the will of God in his/her life, but that person may also be hindering the effectiveness of his/her service. They would be like a fish out of water.
Third, servants of the Lord need to be trained. Jesus called the 12 to be His disciples. He then spent almost 3 years training them. That training included teaching, reflecting, experiencing, questioning, etc. Jesus prepared His disciples for ministry. They didn’t always get it right, but that’s a part of training as well - learning from our mistakes. Churches and mentors need to train fellow Christians in ministry; they need to provide an environment for leading and learning.
Finally, servants of the Lord need to be released to minisger. Three times Jesus commissioned His disciples before He ascended to the Father in heaven. Then He sent the Holy Spirit to empower them to ministry. They then went out and began to serve the Lord, many of them independently of each other, but always connected to each other through the church.
The church is often thought of as being a spiritual hospital where wounded souls come for spiritual healing. That is true. But it is also a spiritual school where Christians are to be trained for ministry in reaching and discipling others in Christian faith.
“Thank You, Lord, for the church. I thank You that my experiences in the church, all through my life, helped prepare me for the almost 50 years of ministry as an adult. I pray my leadership during those years have honored You by training others for ministry as well. All to Your glory I pray, Amen.”