Friday, April 09, 2010

Re-evaluating the Call

It's weird how things come together--somebody recommends a book, somebody else makes a comment, another person starts to look at their calling and ministry--and before you know it, I'm looking at my own ministry calling.

Here are some of the odds and ends that are a part of my mental/spiritual struggle:

I am definitely called into some type of vocational ministry that includes preaching, teaching, and encouragement.

I have always felt (and still do) this to be the calling of an evangelist.

I have never felt like God has called or equipped me for pastoral ministry.

Overall, I'm pretty frustrated by the way we (Christians in general, Baptist in particular) do church.

Even though I have never felt called to pastoral ministry, I feel that we should be as busy planting churches as growing them and sense a call to church planting.

Another frustration--in Southern Baptist life, church planters become church pastors.

So here's my question--Is God calling me to be a non-traditional pastor of a new work that tries to keep people out of the pitfalls of organized religion--you know, the kind of church that doesn't "do church"; that isn't "religious; that doesn't fall into the model of committees on committees and program after program; but rather studies, teaches, and lives out the teachings of Jesus our Lord and Savior?

Simple church must not be that simple because I don't know of any churches that are doing that. As a matter of fact, there is a book called Simple Church. I have it...and I've seen it in every pastor's study or church library that I've been in over the last year. Those that have made comments about it all say that it is a good book, right on the mark...but nobody is doing things that simply. The only thing that I can come up with is that church isn't that simple.

It may be that our focus is all wrong. Maybe while we're trying to figure out how to do church, we're forgetting the part about a God that loves us and a God that commands us to love one another. Maybe we've decided that making disciples is for the vocationally called and the rest of us can plan the next program for our kids/youth/men's group/ladies' group/etc. The Missouri Southern Baptist Convention even has a Committee on Committees! No kidding! I was on it this past year.

I know that there is a business side of church that must be tended to, but it seems to get the most attention--as if that's why we're here. Unfortunately, I don't know the answers to solving this problem. I don't know if it's even a problem for anybody else. Maybe it's just me that is frustrated by living a mediocre (at best) Christian life. Or maybe it's just me that is frustrated that we (as a church) seem content to be turning out mediocre Christians and part time disciples.

I think that I need to be doing more. I think that we all need to be doing more. And I'm not talking about supporting a political party or candidate. I'm not talking about a social agenda. I'm not talking about anything other than learning and living according to the teachings of Jesus.

So...what next? Good question. I guess it's time to figure this calling thing out...again.

Maybe you're in a similar place and need to examine (or re-examine) your calling and place in the Kingdom. Let me know about it.



Anonymous said...

wow, John, like you said, we are/were on the same wavelength today!! I hear ya about the simplicity concept. so much of my preaching is trying to convince people we make it harder than it is. sure, there are complex theological iseas and concepts in the Bible, but the bottom line is that God is our God and we are His people. That's church in a nutshell! I am so blessed that the Lord has put me where I am now. I realize the more I trust in Him the clearer the path is. I know that's hard to do, but I hope your path becomes clear. Personally, I think you'd be an asset to a "traditionall" church if you came in with the perspective you describe. Maybe if you were paired with another pastor who's got the business and organizational strengths, you'd be a great team... like The Apostle says, many gifts, but one body...

Best to you, brother! I so hope we get to meet some day!!

Mike said...

Well when you get voted out of one place you can vote yourself into another. I think I hear Habitat calling me.

Pastor Greg Yount said...

Great post, John. I haven't been on here in a while, so I just read it. These thoughts are high on my list of things to think, too.

I believe that "Simple Church" and "Essential Church" (two books by the same author) go hand in hand. It's actually better to start making changes recommended in Essential Church first, and you will find the church falling into the Simple Church vision.

One more thought - no church is perfect. Don't forget that one. We all know it, but these sorts of books present an ideal that may never be fully reached. Notice the authors have to use illustrations from several different churches - and that's because no single church has it all.

Would love to get together one of these days. Give me a call, email, or something. Take it easy, Brother.