How Do You Discern a Call to Ministry?

There are a ton of Facebook groups that are related to various aspects of music ministry that have been really helpful for me. There’s lots of helpful links, discussions and discussion about helpful equipment and programs that have come out. One time, someone asked a question that sparked an interesting debate. The questioner asked: “I have recently been called into worship ministry. How long do I wait before I start asking people to call me a worship leader?” This lead to me thinking about my call to ministry, as well as the call to ministry of a number of my friends, and there are two aspects to a call to ministry that must be in place in order for the call to be true.

  • Being gifted in the area you think you’re being called.

Many times people think they have a gifting in an area, but the outworking of that leaves something to be desired. This seems to happen often in relation to music ministry. People think that because they’ve sung karaoke, or because they’re great aunt twice removed on their mother’s side once told them they have a good voice they are the world’s greatest singer. If you haven’t ever watched it, look on YouTube for some examples of the early episodes of the each season of American Idol. Sometimes people are very misled in their giftings!

Another piece of this is: are you working at and growing in the area of ministry to which you think you’re called? If you’re called to a particular ministry, then try to grow in it. Get involved in a church and find ways to serve and grow if you think you’re being led in that direction. Who knows, you may work your way into a job!

  • Being recognized by a local church and being commissioned by them.

This is even more important than the previous point. Unless a church calls and commissions you to serve them, you may be misled in your calling. I spent many hours in seminary classes with people who thought they were called to ministry, but didn’t exemplify many fruit of the Spirit, or a humble willingness to seek to learn. Al Mohler has said that unless a church would be willing to hire a person as a pastor they shouldn’t encourage them to attend seminary. This doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a job after seminary, but you should be trying to find ways to grow in your gifting even in seminary so that you can more faithfully discern how God has uniquely wired you to serve in his kingdom. This may also allow you to grow in some areas of weakness that will make you better suited for your first ministry call after school. The ultimate goal, however, is to be faithful wherever you are.

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