Church Action on a Member's Call

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by rlvaughn, Jan 20, 2003.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    I have always been connected with Baptist churches that believe that a call from God is necessary for those who would enter the ministry. But some of the churches have had different responses towards members who might think they were called of God, actually toward two opposite extremes. These are the two responses:

    1. One response is to take a hands-off approach. This is sometimes expressed in the idea "if you can be happy doing anything besides preaching, you should not preach." This approach usually means the church will try not to encourage a brother until he has fully expressed that he feels called.

    2. Another response is to be pro-active. The church feels they see a gift in a certain brother and they encourage him to try to exercise that gift. This might be reflected in the church asking the brother to exercise his gift before them so that all may see if they feel he actually has a gift.

    My interest is how your church handles such a matter. How was it handled in your case? What do you think is the proper reaction? Should a church be pro-active in encouraging a member to exercise his gift? Should a church be passive and leave the matter between the member and God? Is there a happy medium between these two approaches? What do you think?
     
  2. SaggyWoman

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    When I was growing up, there were several of us in church who were called into Christian ministry, be it preaching, music, missions or with children.

    The leadership of the church tried to provide every opportunity to train and help all of us.

    Far be it from any of the churches that I attended not to help out the same way.
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    To clarify what I mean in no. 2, the particular situations of which I'm thinking are cases where the individual has not expressed any call to the church, but the church feels they see a gift in the person. They think the person is neglecting what God has possibly called them to do. Usually what the church does is ask the person to speak (exercise their possible gift) at various times.
     
  4. tyndale1946

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    Brother Robert I might relate an experience of mine that happened many years ago. I have been in my church for 35 years and at one time I had the desire to speak but it was not to preach only to speak. During a discussion with our Pastor I told him I felt the desire to speak.

    During this same time we had many black brethren visiting our congregation and preaching at our church. They were all concerned that as long as I had been in the church and my recollection of doctrine and scripture I wasn't speaking. You see in their churches when someone shows what they observed in me they put them in the stand.

    You of all people who are not Primitive Baptist know exactly what I am talking about. I feel though I don't have any proof that the black brethren told our Pastor if he was in our church we would try him to see if he has the gift. A meeting was set aside unbeknown to me that the Pastor and the deacons met with me in an informal meeting... The Pastor then posed the question that Brother Glen feels he has been called to preach. I never even implied that only that if given the opportunity I would like to speak. The deacons including my father who had the gift but it scared him to death and ran from it also said we don't see evidence at this time.

    To make a long story short I wasn't even given the opportunity to speak and only after the Pastor passed away was I used and by the black brethren. I am the song leader and church clerk and I fill an appointment this year whenever our Pastor Elder Sam and Elder Amos of the black brethren are not available. I have opened the service once for Elder Sam and many times for Elder Amos.

    You see Elder Amos is around me more than Elder Sam and we talk about the scriptures often. Whereas Elder Sam is 100 miles away and Elder Amos is in the neighborhood. I have always wondered what might have been if given the opportunity sooner... Then again I am satisfied to be able to speak in the glorious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ... In the doctrine of the Primitive Baptist I was raised in... If called I pray it is a long distance one as a local call is just that. I feel that pushing a brother to preach is just as harmful as holding one back when the evidence is there!... Seen both sides and their effects!... Brother Glen :(
     
  5. Ben W

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    Surprisingly it was one of the reasons I joined the Seventh Day Baptist Church. They are one of the only groups that will allow the Teachers to Teach, the Evangalists to Evangalise and etc. Which I might add is the biblical model.

    Any church should be prepared to give pulpit time to a person who is growing in a calling of Teaching or Evangalism.
     
  6. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
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    Brother Robert is there scriptural reference on the way one should handle a members call?... Or is each case different and unique in and of itself and are there strict guidelines that each church should go by when selecting those who will fill their stands?

    We have heard many horror stories of some of these ministers that have been to Bible College... Have Doctor Of Divinity with their names... Have religious training and study up the backside and still it would have been better if they never became a preacher. I guess they just had a local call as some of these threads on here testify... IMHO!... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  7. Pastor_Bob

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    I'm not sure I agree with this statement. I feel a better thing to do is to give such a person "opportunity" to preach or teach. I do not think this person automatically needs to be granted "pulpit time."

    I would suggest that they start preaching in a nursing home or a rescue mission. Maybe they could begin teaching now and then in Children's Church or on a bus route.

    After they have grown a bit, give them a ministry such as a jail ministry or a Sunday school class.

    If a young man is truly feeling God's call on his life, he will seize every opportunity tp preach that he can. I would be leary of an individual who wants to preach in church but would turn down an opportunity to preach in a nursing home, bus route, Children's Church, etc...
     
  8. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    I have often used the saying, "If you can do anything else, do it." This is a question of calling. I am a trained architect and I am very happy doing architectural work. The desire to minister God's word overcame my desire to design buildings. Hence, I entered ministry.......not because I couldn't do something else, but because the desire, the call, to minister was greater.

    In the Plymouth Brethren, I was encouraged to preach and without warning. I virtually had about two minutes to prepare a sermon...in the pulpit.

    As I moved on to the Baptist Church, the people encouraged me to minister the word in every capacity. Whilst a student in Bible College, I preached every Sunday and indeed had a student ministry throughout this time.

    I think there is a balance, and we can both discourage and push a candidate for ministry in the wrong direction. Some men have started out in ministry and never looked back. I think of Spurgeon. The fruit of his ministry certainly evidenced his calling. Then you have Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who was a medical doctor, even to royalty, yet he was called to Westminister Chapel following the great Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, and there was no doubt to this late calling.

    The most important thing: if God has called, opportunity will be there despite man. If one is called, you will never be content in whatever field you are fully qualified. You may very well succeed, but there will always be this burning inside until you preach His word and minister to the people.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
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    Jim 1999 wrote:

    Jim, as usual you hit the nail on the head.
    I know that feeling. Been there done that, in fact that is the only way that my people do it.

    Amen to that.

    Not sure I will fully go along here, Jim, it maybe a linguistic problem rather than a theological difficulty. I think folks can do both and be happy that way. That is to say, some can have a tent-maker occupation and also be in the ministry and be happy in that dual role. I find that I am a terribly curious individual, and think that I would find my life terribly boring if I focused on just one major avocation in life. Others might feel differently, and rightfully so. For example, I was trained as a historian, but never got a history type job, so I write. I was also trained as an accountant, and did that many years, and enjoyed that as well. I also minister and couldn't imagine life without that aspect of it either. I also like to tinker, so I do a variety of manual labor type things -- plants, auto mechanics, and carpentry for example.

    Jeff
     
  10. Jeff Weaver

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    Bro. Robert noted above:
    Bro. Robert, I can't answer for all, so will give my personal experience in the matter. Soon after I was baptized, I was called to the stand without being consulted about it before hand. I had felt something, a call, a desire, a something before, but hadn't discussed it with anyone but a Methodist minister who was/is a good friend. He says he didn't tell the folks at my church, and I believe him, and take it at face value. But the folks at my church saw something, and made their decision. I suppose like the Amish. I answered the call, but was far from ready to do so educationally, tempermentally, etc. Might be more ready now, 25+ years later. [​IMG]

    Now, as for me, I have done the same thing that was done to me to others.

    There is a certain undefinable something about men who have the call, desire, gift, that will let you know, IMO. If God has given someone in your midst the call, gift, desire, then He (God) must have something he wants you to hear from that person, and it would be wise to listen.

    After the first exercise, the old minister of the church came and talked to me, and mentored me. Encouraged me to do things best left unsaid in Primitive Baptist circles, like to study Greek, I took Greek, and other religion courses at a secular university, which caused some difficulties for me, but they were overcome. Did they teach me to preach -- no. But they did teach me logical thought, other ideas, and how to defend my own, etc.

    So to sum up, in my case, and in most Primitive Baptist churches of which I am aware, a pro-active approach, with a mentor (though you'd would not likely hear that word) is the usual approach.

    We also have the situation, at least here in Appalachia where men who were ministers in other denominations who have come to agree with our theological positions switch and join with us. This maybe why we have a higher minister/member ratio than a lot of other denominations. I haven't studied it in depth -- just a casual observation.

    DId I answer your question.?
     
  11. Ben W

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    Pastor Bob 63,

    I certainley can understand where you are comming from.

    However.

    Do we practisce the Biblical model of church. Which is allowing the Evangalists to Evangalise, the Teachers to teach etc, or have we adopted a model of Industrial Capatalism into our church, by placing preaching from the Pulpit into a climbing the Corporate Ladder situation.

    We are saved to serve. No member of the Church is any better than another in his calling. A big name evangalist should be happy to preach in a nursing home, while a lad shares with the Congregation his ministry.

    Alot of Christians are conned into basing the running of churches like the running of companies. The Christian church is not based on Capatalism, rather it is closer to a Co-operative.

    Please dont take this the wrong way. It is just my thoughts. [​IMG]
     

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