You went to Bible college for ministry. You are in debt up to your ears for the sake of your calling. You did internships with various churches while in school and a handful of your classmates were fortunate enough to meet a pastor who was vested in mentoring them and gave them a first job. And then, there is you. How do you move from “ministry wannabe” to someone engaged in meaningful ministry?
The good news is that ministry opportunities abound. If you really want to serve Jesus in ministry, you will. How do you find places where you can make a contribution to God’s kingdom? Be willing to look where the needs are great and the financial rewards are non-existent. If you really want to pursue Jesus recklessly, without concern for the costs, be willing to pursue Him recklessly without concern for the rewards.
Church Plants, Home Missions and Revitalization Projects
While everyone would like to be the worship leader of a Hillsong Church, about six people on the planet have that job. If we are all about souls, nothing is more challenging or rewarding, than teaming up with like minded people to spread the gospel through planting, growing or revitalizing local churches. These types of ministries are labor intensive and need a healthy team of Christians committed to Jesus. If you minister to children or youth, are gifted musically or pastorally, you will actually make a difference by starting in a small work. As it grows you will have had the joy of seeing God’s faithfulness first hand. Your ministry position will grow with the church and today’s full-time leader was once a faithful volunteer who loved Jesus enough to serve anywhere. If the ministry position fits, don’t turn it down for lack of salary. God is faithful. You trust Him. Trust Him with your financial situation. God has bigger plans and bigger rewards than what we can see. There is no shame to starting at the beginning but there’s a lot of of joy in doing so.
Serving Your Ministry Network
Many young people are not really sure how to find places where their skills can be used. Fortunately, most of us belong to some kind of network and a phone call to your superintendent’s office or that of the director of church development will likely steer you in the right direction. Should that fail you, contact a local presbyter or ask a professor from your Bible college days. By and large, older people like to help younger people get started. Find yourself an old person and get their input. I’m old and I can vouch for my age mates. Investing in the younger generation is a joy to us.
Pioneer a New Ministry in Your Home Church
Once you have attended Bible college, most people will need to move on from their home church to another place of ministry. This is not a criticism of your home church but a simple reality. Your church has a pastor, youth minister, children’s director and worship leader and you are not there to replace or compete with those already called to those positions. Neither are you there to lose heart that you will ever “get a chance” to do what God called you to do. But there is a reality that for some people, there will be a time between leaving school and finding a ministry opportunity outside your original home church. When you are at home, serve your local church. Volunteer wherever they will take you. Talk to the pastor and ask him what ministry he would like to see that is not yet in place and if possible, be prepared to suggest where you might be a blessing. Play guitar? Start a ministry to a local nursing home. Love youth? Volunteer as a Bible study leader. Have a heart for the public schools? Offer to organize a ministry in cooperation with Youth Alive. Few churches suffer from an over supply of the willing and if you do end up at home, do not let that be an excuse to sit on your hands.
While all this sounds great in theory, many of you will be paralyzed by the fact you have school debt. How do you find the balance between meaningful ministry and Fannie Mae? Stay tuned for Money Matters in our next blog.