Priesthood of Believers - Part One - Doing our Callling Well

The other week, a friend of mine who has been the senior pastor at a church for the past twelve years let everyone know that he was going back to college to pursue a degree in communications rather than ministry.  He had been looking for another church to minister at, but this was the culmination of that failed search and an exit from the ministry for the time being. 

Another one of my friend’s in the ministry was talking to him and tried to encourage him to stay in the ministry.  The minister told my friend that was resigning that God had just lost one of His warriors.  He then proceded to tell a story about a lifeguard.  This lifeguard was inspired to be a lifeguard as a child, and he was good at it.  But then a swimmer drowned, so he decided to better himself and go get more training.  While training, the lifeguard forgot the urgency and importance of his position.  He saw that there was money to be made selling bananas on the beach.  So the lifeguard quit his job as a lifeguard and started to sell bananas.  My friend attempted, through the telling of this story, to show to the minister leaving the ministry that he shouldn’t stop being a lifeguard to become a banana saleman. 

My initial response to that story was that God will gladly use a banana seller who is also trained as a lifeguard.  Just because someone is not in the paid ministry, that does not mean they cannot be used by God to save people.  A banana salesman might be in the right place at the right time to save someone rather than stationed as the lifeguards are. 

My friend in the ministry struggles with clergification, that’s the idea that clergy can better bring about God’s will than anyone else.  This leads to ministers trying to be superChristians and burning out, probably like my resigning friend did.  Cause what happens in these scenarios is that the clergy is the only one that can call on people, the only that can teach.  His presence is necessary, in this tainted to view, for the church to be represented.  But a healthy church is much different.  In a healthy church, everyone takes on the responsibility of representing Jesus at functions.  And the minister does not need to do everything or most things. 

I’m not belittling my training that I received to be a minister of the good news.  I think it is important to have ministers, and it’s essential to have them trained for the calling they are entering.  But it is not just important for pastors to be trained; it’s important for every Christian to be trained well.  Some times that will mean formal training; other times it will mean hanging out with mature Christians, just checking out how other churches do things, or reading a book, but we all must better train ourselves to do what God has called us to do.  This does not mean that my friend will not be doing God’s work because he is stepping out of the paid ministry.  Each one of us has a ministry, even those of you who do not have an official ministry at this church like being in charge of the children’s ministry, worship, teens, or teaching.  Each one of us has an important and essential ministry that God is using to bring about His will into this world.  We must examine whether we recognize the ministry we are called to, are bettering ourselves for that ministry, and are focused on living our life to further that ministry.