The Call

In my work I get to spend a lot of time with people who are thinking about the call to full-time ministry.  They want to preach, direct a Christian education program or lead a para-church ministry.  From a distance the “call” can seem adventurous and life-giving.  But that is not always the case; Brain McLaren sums up a reality that many of us in “the ministry” face his book A New Kind of Christian:

I found the pastorate a pretty hard place to be a growing, thinking, honest Christian.  Too many people want you to spout the party line, never question, never think.  In the end, it was a matter of integrity and compassion.  If I had been honest in the pulpit about what was going on in my mind and heart – my questioning, my reevaluating – I would either have split the church or been fired.

 This inner conflict has been part of my reality for the past 20 years.  My Christian faith, my call to ministry is both the most important part of who I am and what I do as well as the most frustrating part of who I am and how I live.  I love what I do but I am always looking for a reason to quit.

These tensions have influenced my understanding of God’s call on my life.  There are days when I feel called and there are days when I am quite sure that God is just messing with me.  In a few days I am going to take a step that I have actively avoided for at least two decades – ordination.

Why am I doing this now?  My struggle with God is still an everyday reality – just this morning I came up with a new reason to quit!  Ultimately my faith is just that – a step of faith.  When I look back at the last 20 years it hasn’t been perfect, but God has been present – encouraging, patiently allowing me to rant and question and providing church families that love on me and my family without condition.

This Sunday, I will take a step of faith;  believing that God has called me into the ministry, not because I have my act together, but because God has called me in spite of my strengths and weaknesses. If you are in Denver this Sunday, September 11 you are invited to His Love Fellowship Church at 3 PM to celebrate the next step in my journey.

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2 Comments

Filed under A New Kind of Christian, Brian McLaren, Family, His Love Fellowship, The Call

2 responses to “The Call

  1. Glenn Runnalls

    Hey Glenn, a little long to make it to celebrate your Ordination . . .

    w/o knowing the full context of the quote, i wonder about two things:

    1) “many people want you to spout the party line, never question, never think.”

    Why should anyone work in such a context? While there is appropriate expectation of alignment in any work place, no pastor/teacher/leader is “called” to a work that requires that they do question or think.

    2) “If I had been honest in the pulpit about what was going on in my mind and heart – my questioning, my reevaluating– I would either have split the church or been fired.”

    may i suggest that any pastor/teacher/leader who is in such misalignment with their place of work needs to either resign or take a sabbatical to get their head sorted out.

    blessings!

  2. I have just found your blog. Wow I love this. You know you and I go way back to our teen age years and it has been a journey from that little church on Western Drive Williams Lake to both of us living here in USA.
    I can relate to that quote…. and I understand the ever changing understanding of exactly what the “call” is.
    As a young adult life is just so black and white. …. As I grew older I started to understand that “Circumstances alter all things” There is a big “colored zone” in the middle of the black and white… the zone that God has shown me is “balance”. Not to be mistaken for mediocrity or selling out …. but a zone that is viewed through his eyes and not colored with our intentions.

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