As someone who has personally experienced a specific call, I know how daunting it feels to begin to explore all the avenues and options there are for ministry, especially when your head is still spinning from the idea that God wants you to give everything up to serve His kingdom in a career/vocational path . But take heart! God does not call us to any task that He will not also equip us for (Hebrews 13:21). Also, always remember that you already have everything you need to accomplish the task He has given you, because scripture tells us that because of the Holy Spirit “we have everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Now, before I go any further in laying out some options for how to begin preparing and serving, I want you to understand that all these ideas are just that…ideas. This girl is by no means an expert, nor do I think I claim to know what is the best path for your specific call or context. However, it is my hope that these three principles will be springboards that help launch you into action NOW, even while you continue to prepare and wait for future “career” ministry opportunities.
- Seek Mentorship
In preparing for ministry, I believe this is by far the most important element. Find someone in your area who is actively serving in the ministry role(s) you are most interested in or feeling most drawn to. Ask if you can “shadow” them some, volunteering to help out when you are available to be around them. This will also allow you to ask specific questions, and learn through example and hands on experiences. This can definitely be a formal internship, but it can also just be an informal commitment on the part of both you and the ministry mentor.
- Seek opportunities to serve
How involved are you right now in serving your community and your local church? Don’t expect to be raised us as a leader by the Lord if you aren’t serving His local church. Be sure that you are serving in as many ways as possible (without neglecting your own spiritual well-being). Choose a variety of avenues too, not just the avenue that you feel is your primary ministry focus. The more you are exposed to through serving, the better equipped you will be to lead in ministry. Also, if you aren’t sure what type of ministry God wants you to be in, volunteering in several different avenues is a great way to get exposed to what is out there and prayerfully discern where He is leading. Above all, those called to ministry MUST be willing to serve alongside others and even behind others because that is the example left to us by Jesus, who “came not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28).
- Seek out appropriate training
There are lots of ways that you can acquire training for ministry focal areas. The Arkansas Baptist State Convention hosts trainings all across the state in a broad range of ministry opportunities. Seek these out by checking out the website regularly or even giving the central office a call. Also, local SBC associations often have specific trainings that are headed up by the local Associational Missionary (AM). Have your church leadership check with the local AM about these. And lastly, but certainly not least, be sure to always check in with Explore Your Call for upcoming trainings they may be having or for opportunities to serve in ministry.
I have talked to quite a few people who feel called to ministry who say, “Well, maybe one day I will, but I’m just not ready yet.” In fact, you may have thought the same thing before. But if you are waiting until you feel “ready” or “good enough” to begin being obedient, you will be waiting the rest of your life. God called you, and He wants you to takes steps of faith filled obedience NOW. Not next week. Not next month. Not in a year or two. NOW. So just jump in! He will be gracious to you in your mistakes and will bless your willingness to do what he has asked you to do. And ultimately, HE will accomplish His good purposes through you (Philippians 2:13), if you will just follow His lead.
Life is too short, and eternity is too long for anything less.