Discerning the Call to the Ministry

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Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
I just received this as an email (from another PB member). It is from Joel Beeke, and it concerns an interview he gave with the good folks at Greenville Seminary. Hopefully this will be helpful to some of the young men on the PB who might be considering a call to the gospel ministry.

Here is the question and Dr. Beeke's answer:

What advice would you give to young men who discern a call to the ministry?

First, seriously examine your call. Elsewhere I have written that a ministerial calling is a holy calling that involves a holy life, a holy desire for the work of the ministry, a holy compulsion to proclaim the gospel, a holy fitness for the work, holy struggles with the weightiness of the work, holy confirmation by the approbation of believers and providential events, and a holy love and burden for the spiritual welfare of people.

Second, do not be hasty. An inward call from God will only grow stronger as time passes, and as more time passes, the greater the clarity of the call becomes. Wait on the Lord continually, by prayer and the searching of the Scriptures. Seek wise counsel in making plans, choosing a ministry path, or deciding where to train. If you are married, your partner should affirm and share your sense of call, something only the Holy Spirit can impart, in His own good time.

Third, remember that Christian service is not merely a profession or career. What you are as both a Christian and a human being is even more important than where you train or what degrees you obtain. By the Spirit’s grace, seek to learn and grow in being a true follower of Jesus Christ. Search the Scriptures. Learn koine Greek or, if that is not possible, classical Greek. Take courses that can assist you for seminary studies (Western history, philosophy, logic, speech, Latin, etc.). Fellowship with the wisest and maturest of believers. Read the best books—the great classics of the past. Learn how to think, meditate, and write well. Volunteer for ministry opportunities, such as speaking at youth conferences, teaching Sunday School, or ministering to the homeless. Be an active member of the local church, making diligent use of the means of grace. Grow and ripen as a human being. Profit from every life experience, good or bad, as a way to grow in grace.

Fourth, be practical. Learn to be organized and to manage your time well. Get into the workplace and master the skill of earning a living. Learn to manage your personal finances, to live within your means and avoid debt. Learn how to listen and how to work hard and well. Submit to the discipline of accepting any assigned task, no matter how unpleasant or demanding it may be. Learn how to learn—that is, where to find the knowledge, and how to master the skills needed to get the job done.

Finally, develop your people skills along the way. Study human nature and behavior. Visit the sick. Acquire the common graces of good grooming, good manners, and Christian courtesy. Cultivate a healthy lifestyle with regard to diet, sleep, and exercise. The ministry involves diligent work, hardships of many kinds, heavy demands on skill and resources, and constant encounters with human and personal complicating factors. Give your all to the Lord and His cause, and pray continually for wisdom.
 

Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
I just received this as an email (from another PB member). It is from Joel Beeke, and it concerns an interview he gave with the good folks at Greenville Seminary. Hopefully this will be helpful to some of the young men on the PB who might be considering a call to the gospel ministry.

Here is the question and Dr. Beeke's answer:

What advice would you give to young men who discern a call to the ministry?

First, seriously examine your call. Elsewhere I have written that a ministerial calling is a holy calling that involves a holy life, a holy desire for the work of the ministry, a holy compulsion to proclaim the gospel, a holy fitness for the work, holy struggles with the weightiness of the work, holy confirmation by the approbation of believers and providential events, and a holy love and burden for the spiritual welfare of people.

Second, do not be hasty. An inward call from God will only grow stronger as time passes, and as more time passes, the greater the clarity of the call becomes. Wait on the Lord continually, by prayer and the searching of the Scriptures. Seek wise counsel in making plans, choosing a ministry path, or deciding where to train. If you are married, your partner should affirm and share your sense of call, something only the Holy Spirit can impart, in His own good time.

Third, remember that Christian service is not merely a profession or career. What you are as both a Christian and a human being is even more important than where you train or what degrees you obtain. By the Spirit’s grace, seek to learn and grow in being a true follower of Jesus Christ. Search the Scriptures. Learn koine Greek or, if that is not possible, classical Greek. Take courses that can assist you for seminary studies (Western history, philosophy, logic, speech, Latin, etc.). Fellowship with the wisest and maturest of believers. Read the best books—the great classics of the past. Learn how to think, meditate, and write well. Volunteer for ministry opportunities, such as speaking at youth conferences, teaching Sunday School, or ministering to the homeless. Be an active member of the local church, making diligent use of the means of grace. Grow and ripen as a human being. Profit from every life experience, good or bad, as a way to grow in grace.

Fourth, be practical. Learn to be organized and to manage your time well. Get into the workplace and master the skill of earning a living. Learn to manage your personal finances, to live within your means and avoid debt. Learn how to listen and how to work hard and well. Submit to the discipline of accepting any assigned task, no matter how unpleasant or demanding it may be. Learn how to learn—that is, where to find the knowledge, and how to master the skills needed to get the job done.

Finally, develop your people skills along the way. Study human nature and behavior. Visit the sick. Acquire the common graces of good grooming, good manners, and Christian courtesy. Cultivate a healthy lifestyle with regard to diet, sleep, and exercise. The ministry involves diligent work, hardships of many kinds, heavy demands on skill and resources, and constant encounters with human and personal complicating factors. Give your all to the Lord and His cause, and pray continually for wisdom.

Reverend Beeke is one of my favorite preachers. :)
 

jawyman

Puritan Board Junior
I cut and pasted this section from the appendix of the PRTS catalog. It is a wonderful section regarding the call to the ministry.
 

Don Kistler

Puritan Board Sophomore
If a man who is married thinks he has a call to the ministry, I think it should be determined that his wife senses that call, and all that goes with it for her.

If God calls a man, He will also call that man's wife. If she is not going to be a good pastor's wife, he may not be called. I grant that no one is born ready, but there should be the sense that she is ready as well.
 
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