I have be wondering what it means to be called to ministry. I am sure of “a call” to ministry, but I am unsure of what this looks like.
It may be in a church as an associate or as a Christian Educator. It may be as a Social Worker or something else. I remember in 2002 I mulled over the effectiveness and prudence in my attending seminary. So I did something else and ran to Africa. I was scared, terrified of this prospect.
Once there I grew. I loved my surroundings. I lamented the strangeness of life. I was lonely and afraid. I became a man there. That time separated necessity from desire. There I decided to go to seminary. Seminary had value…
Once here in seminary I planned to be here for a year and leave to go back to Africa. I tried to not plant roots. I hated that folks here loved me and sought me out in friendship. This hampered my efforts in planning on leaving back to Africa.
I also met a young lady to whom I shall wed in May. Another wrench in the cog of my plans.
I continue to chug along the express line of graduation. If all goes well [I pass all my courses] I shall graduate in May and get married the following week.
I wrestle with what the hell I am going to do upon graduation. I see many that seemingly have their shit together. They are sure of their call. They are certain to what they shall do. They assuredly converse about the future of the church. Some have a conviction to unify the church, others believe a mutual separation is needed. They are sure of their call.
I am unsure as to what I am being called to. I am applying to five schools to pursue a Master of Social Work degree, with the possible hope of a P.h.D. I was asked recently to think about what it is I feel called to.
I have no clue still. I want to serve, love, and walk with folks. I like preaching, studying, and caring for people. I am not opposed to the low end of the ladder. I just want to work for change and maybe one day write a book. I would be cool doing almost anything creative.
I hear all the time, “If you can do something else other than ministry. Than do it.” I agree. What folks are not understanding is that the paradigm of ministry has changed. Ministry is no longer the educated pulpit dragon of yore.
Ministers need to be within the people, par of the people. We need to be all and nothing at all. We need to be relevant and vulnerable. We need to be the shepard more than the preacher. Tarnished by the flash and glimmer of televangelists and distanced by the hellfire and brimstone we need to find that place where God calls us to. We must no be fearful of fighting the call and wrestling with God until that blessings is given.
I will not release this lock until I am blessed. I have fought to long and hard for this. I would rather be destroyed than release my grip without blessing. In Jinkins class the other day something to the effect of this was said, “even when I did not believe in God I felt convicted that I was to follow Jesus.” So true. What is it about Jesus that draws me here to this place?
I cannot totally assure anyone that I believe in God. I am not sure God is real. I have many questions I need answers for. I hate humanity and what we do to each other. I find beauty and assurance in many of the other religions I have studied. I am not convinced that Christianity is what Jesus wants us to practice or be.
I am sure that Jesus the Christ is someone I deeply want to know and emulate. I find myself dreaming about Jesus and what he would say about this or that. I wonder what he sounded like. I dream about Jesus hanging out with me. I can with assurance say I love Jesus. I feel terrible when I fail him. I lament as I fall short of his example. I look forward to his grace and peace offered in the tender words of the gospel message.
I feel called to love Jesus, to serve, Jesus, and to accept Jesus. I feel called to love like Jesus loves, to accept like Jesus accepts, and to serve as Jesus serves.
God please hear these words. I want to be like Jesus. I want to be vulnerable. I want to love. Grant me a life of service, danger, and adventure. Fill me with a servants heart. Give me the courage to be. Steady my heart, mind, and strength in you to answer the call.