I recently had a young man say to me that he thought he wanted to become a minister, and that set me to thinking about what advice I would offer to young men and women who seriously were thinking about such a prospect. So here are a few considerations from the heart of fifty years of ministry.
First - the ministry must NOT be just a career that you decide to enter! It can only succeed if it is first and foremost a CALLING from God! You do not get a "ministry" from a Theological Diploma or a "License" you can hang on a wall, nor by simply adding the word "Reverend" in front of your name. The Ministry must come from the heart of God to your heart, a life-work from which you can never "retire," and one for which you will always be accountable - all the rest of your life! Even if you try to leave the ministry, the ministry calling will never leave you! (Read Romans 11:29)
So...how does one get "called" by God? Someone once said "God is not interested in your abilities or your inabilities, but rather your availability." Sorry, but your talents, your good looks, and whatever other assets you think you have going for you, do not impress God at all! God doesn't need any of your "stuff" in order to make you one of His Ministers of the Gospel - all He is looking for is someone who will put themselves totally into His Hands, and God will provide to them everything else that is needed to get the job done. You won't have to open any "doors" of opportunity for yourself. HE will open the doors for you! (Proverbs 18:16)
Next - you need to get very familiar with THE BOOK! The Word of God must be in your heart and mind. Not just so that you can quote the Scripture, but also so that you can LIVE the Scripture. It is not YOUR words that are so important, but GOD'S WORD that you speak, and that alone carries the authority. Know God's Word!
Not only must you know the Book, but you must know THE AUTHOR of The Book! You must have a deep, personal relationship with Him. How can you introduce people to Someone you don't even know yourself? Not just know ABOUT Him, but a close Father-child relationship - so His Nature has become your nature; so close that His Will has become your way of life. "Godliness" is when the nature of Christ is revealed in your life - and a minister without Godliness is a reproach! Keep your life above reproach. Be an example of the believer! (1 Timothy 4:12)
You must LOVE God, and love the things that are close to the heart of God. You must hate the things that are contrary to Him. You cannot ride the fence! Ambiguity doesn't belong in the life of a minister when it comes to right and wrong. And - you've got to really love your family!
You must be a worshipper! You must be the leader in this all-important activity! Those around you will follow the example you set, and if you are a "true worshipper" (John 4:23) you can lead many into His presence.
You must love people - always remembering that if God allows you to have a group to whom you minister and shepherd, these people are HIS sheep, not yours! You will give account to the Chief Shepherd how you handled His sheep. So, handle with care!
Be a giver! Be faithful in tithes and offerings. Trust the Lord to supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19). Don't waiver from integrity. Remember - if you honor God, He will honor you!
God will never ask you to be "successful" - whatever that may mean. He only asks you to be faithful. Make sure that you never take the credit for whatever good may be accomplished, but give all the glory to Him. (Isaiah 42:8)
Advice? There is much, much more, of course, but perhaps this can get you started on the right foundation.
So you think you want to be a minister of the Gospel? Wonderful! Even the SKY is not the limit - and God has an absolutely wonderful retirement plan that is out of this world!
Melvin R. Springfield
Pastor, Teacher, and follower of Jesus Christ
Life Changers Bible Fellowship
Rev. and Mrs. Melvin Springfield
Have you made Jesus
your Lord and Savior?
Simply pray the following prayer in faith, sincerely and honestly, and make Jesus your Lord and Savior! Why not do it now!
Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of Jesus. Your Word says, "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" and again, "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:9). I ask you to forgive me of all my sins. You said my salvation would be the result of Your Holy Spirit giving me new birth by coming to live in me (John3:5-6, 14-16 Romans 8:9-11).
I take You at Your Word. I confess that Jesus is my Lord. And I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead. Thank you for coming into my heart, forgiving me of my sins, and giving me a new life. I ask this in Jesus Name. Amen.
This Weeks FRESH
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It was dark in the little chapel.
I didn’t need to turn on any lights as I was very familiar with the place. There was just the tiny dim glow from the small exit sign over the door across the room. I would often come here at the end of the day, and go to a darkened corner at the front of the small auditorium, and there I would pray and think, allowing the “stuff” of the day to roll off my mind.
I had been here for quite a while and was about to get up and leave, when, in the darkness, I heard the back door open, and someone entered the chapel and slowly walked up the center aisle towards the altar in the front. What I should have done was said “hello” and then left, but I didn’t. I just sat quietly in my dark corner.
I soon recognized who it was that was kneeling down at the altar bench. It was the old preacher. I could hear him, as he softly began to pray.
“Lord, I didn’t come today to ask you for anything. I just came to say THANK YOU! Thank you, Lord, for being so good to me and my family. Thank you for saving my soul so many years ago as a boy. And thank you for the day you called me to be a preacher of your Gospel. Lord, I’m amazed how quickly the years since then have rolled by, but you have been with me through it all.
Thank you for the churches you have helped my build, and the thousands of times you have given me the strength and anointing to preach. And thank you, Lord, for the dear souls you gave to me to pastor. Each one, Lord, has been precious and special, and I count them, one by one, in prayer.
Thank you for the wonderful wife you gave me, the one that you prepared to help me fulfill that special calling in my life. You’ve been faithful, Lord, all these years. You’ve been there in the good times and the tough times, for my wife and I and our family. You have never failed! Every need your hand supplied, just enough and just in time.
When sickness came, you helped us through each trial. Your healing hand has always been there. When it seemed that one door was closing for us, you always opened a new one. We have tried, Lord, to follow your leading, not always sure where we were going, but always sure of your presence. And that was always good enough.
So, Lord, another day has come and gone, and I just wanted to take a few minutes to say THANK YOU. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.”
The old preacher knelt there silently for a few more minutes, and then I could hear him again get to his feet, and make his slow walk back down the aisle and to the door. I could hear his car, as he slowly drove out of the small parking lot towards home.
I thought to myself, “Lord, once again you gave me a little reminder of how thankful I, too, ought to be. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.”
With a sigh, I quietly left the darkened chapel, and locked the door behind me. “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.”
written by Melvin Springfield
Melvin and Kay were married in Henderson, Tennessee, Kay's hometown, in 1966, and began a ministry together that has touched many thousands of lives for Jesus Christ in the United States, Canada, and beyond. Now, after all these years, they are returning to Henderson to live, to be able to be with family and friends. 2009 began Pastor Springfield's 50th year of ministry, and 43 years of marriage together, all of this with God's hand on their lives. They have one daughter, Stephanie, who has given them two beautiful grand children, and a fine son-in-law. They look forward to many more years walking together with God, doing His work.