In my previous post, I made the point that calling is something that is rarely talked about in Churches of Christ and as a result our outreach has suffered. The fact that people aren’t really sure if God does any calling today makes people reluctant to feel like God has anything specific in mind for them to do…but only in regard to ministry. To be honest, I think most of us believe God has a specific in mind for us…even a plan. We call that the will of God, specifically God’s “individual will” for my life.
There are at least two big problems with how people think about the will of God. First, we don’t think of it as a calling at all…more like a plan. It is thought of as God’s ideal set of choices, locations, and relationships for us rather than a calling upon us to be servants of the Lord. Second, we make it individual rather than corporate which makes it about me from the start. We don’t connect God’s will to the community or the kingdom or even ministry for that matter.
How often do you hear Christians view God’s will for their life in the context of the kingdom? Typically the people who you hear talk like that get it when it comes to the idea of calling. Instead, the idea is that God has a path for me that will fulfill me and that doesn’t automatically have any connection with other people or kingdom work like ministering to others. See the irony? If there is any fulfillment in life it comes through obeying our calling…being and doing who and what God has called us to be and do.
What is more, I have seen the “priesthood of all believers” from 1 Peter 2:9 card played more to distinguish ourselves from other groups that have priests than to actually teach what that verses teaches and do what that verse does…call each and every Christian to priestly ministerial duties. If you look at that passage, it is most likely referencing Exodus 19:6 where God tells ALL his people they will be a “kingdom of priests.” Read it in context. It is right there. And there it is again…kingdom.
Some say there is no clergy/laity split and then act as if there is. People act like it all the time because they have more of our conversation wrapped up in their own individual stuff than in kingdom stuff. So people give their contribution thinking that covers their obligation to minister because they hire it out for someone else to do. Someone else is called to minister and they am called to attend and give. We have a culture of minister dependence and hierarchy rather than a sharing (koinonia) of responsibility across the body as happened in the early church…that church that we model ourselves after. The results have been devastating. The lost often get reached to the degree that preachers have time to reach out in between all the other countless duties required of them. How much more could be done if every single person knew they had the responsibility to minister…that God was calling every last one of us to His service?
I believe we would turn the world upside down.
God is calling. He is calling you. He is calling whether you are a minister or an elder…or “just a member”…young or old…employed by a church or not…God is calling. He is calling you to ministry right where you are. It doesn’t take a degree. It doesn’t take a salary. It takes time, attention and love. Those are gifts we all have if we are willing to make ourselves available to God and others. We have all been called. The question is, will we answer?