Mom…Dad, I Think God Might Be Calling Me Into the Ministry
I remember uttering those words to my parents as I began my freshman year of college at Southern Arkansas University. I have fantastic parents who afforded my sister and I every opportunity to not just succeed in life, but enjoy life. Our home, however, was victimized by the false ideology that discipleship and spiritual leadership should be tasked to the professionals, the experts…a.k.a. the pastors at our local church. If they only knew…trusted…the ancient truth that we so readily proclaim today. The truth that fathers and mothers are called, enabled, and empowered by Almighty God to be the primary disciplers of their children (Deuteronomy 6).
I say all that to set the stage for when I began this very conversation with my parents. Here are some things I learned along the way as we engaged in a years’ long conversation that launched me down the path I’m still on today:
Opposition to your call to ministry may not be what you think.
Early in our conversation about my call to my ministry, I sensed some opposition by my parents. Over time I realized what seemed like opposition was really ignorance. As you continue to explore your call, include your parents in the ministry you are doing. Invite them to one of your ministry events. Share with them weekly or even daily how God is at work in your ministry. Help your parents understand the why more than the what of ministry. Human ignorance will soon give way to heavenly insight.
Pursue Significance over Success.
Parents always want what is best for their kids. For my parents, the baseline of best was always better than what they had growing up. Best is often equated with success…flourishing career, money in the bank, home ownership, marital bliss, etc. Too often in our pursuit of the American Dream we find ourselves succeeding at things that have little to no significance. Success will not always result in significance. However, pursuing significance…Kingdom significance…always results in the ultimate success of having these words said of us…”well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 5:23)
Don’t Experiment. Be Obedient.
My parents got married and had kids during the peak of the “try it before you buy it,” “60-day money back guarantee” age. That day is fading, but a new age of experimentation is emerging. An age of career experimentation. Many of you reading this have experimented with multiple majors in college and maybe even multiple career paths.
I remember my parents trying so hard to get me to experiment with ministry before I really pursued that path. What God taught me was that a call to ministry is not something you experiment with or dabble in. I continue to learn even today that, I’m called to be obedient to the God who called me to ministry, not experiment with Him.
Share the Gospel.
My parents established their relationship with Christ prior to my entering this world. However, when I began this conversation about my call to ministry, I had an entirely unique opportunity to share the Gospel with them. It was then that the faith my parents had shelved for so long was dusted off and put into action. As you explore your call, use it to clearly share the Gospel to your parents and loved ones…giving all glory and honor to the One who has saved you and “called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
by Matt Hubbard, Lead Student Pastor
Immanuel Baptist Church
Little Rock, Arkansas