Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Myth of Full-Time Ministry

Have you ever felt just a little disappointed that God failed to call you to serve Him as a missionary, pastor, or pastor's wife?  Have you ever felt like you were inferior to these "chosen" men and women of God.  I confess I have.  These spiritual giants have sometimes made me feel a bit insignificant in the kingdom of God.  Surely they must have special seats in Heaven right next to the throne.

But wait a minute, where is full-time ministry mentioned in the Bible?  Of course some are called to be pastors/elders and others are chosen to be deacons, but what about the rest of us?  Does God view as us as members of a lesser class, the "lay-people," since our salary doesn't come from a church or mission board?  Not at all.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28
Unfortunately, too many Christians have tried to elevate the status of those who are pastors/elders and missionaries.  I certainly believe men who hold a spiritual leadership position should be respected and their physical needs met through the giving of tithes and offerings by the church body.  But keep in mind that the Bible clearly teaches that we are called to serve the Lord in all that we do.  Yes, Christian plumbers, cops, nurses, stay-at-home moms were all commissioned into full-time service the moment they were converted.   We are called to share the Gospel and to use the spiritual gifts God has blessed us with to benefit our local church body.  There is no secular or sacred in God's kingdom; all we do is service for our King.

I found this paragraph from a Christianity Today article fascinating:
Greek words meaning "layperson" existed at the time the New Testament was written. But the writers chose not to use them. "Laikos," meant of the common people. And "idiotes" meant non-expert. But the New Testament uses neither term to describe believers. Instead, it calls us "laos Theou," the people of God. Every true Christian belongs to the "laos." But as the first century ended, one of the church fathers, Clement of Rome, began dividing the church into classes, calling the non-ministering members "laikos" (laity). Now, some twenty centuries later, the "laity" terms, firmly embedded in our religious language, shape the way we think.

I may not receive a salary from a church or mission board, but I have a Boss who is keeping track of my time sheet.  Right now He is monitoring my activity to make sure I'm truly giving Him my best.  You see, I've been in full-time Christian ministry since I was seven years old.

What about you?  Has God called you to serve Him in some thankless mundane job?  He is not ignoring your service.  He knows your frustrations.  Do not be ashamed of your full-time calling. 
" For he that is least among you all, the same is great." Luke 9:48b

I'm linked up with:
Beholding Glory


  1. I love that Peter says we are a royal priesthood - a church full of priests isn't much use unless we go out and find people to minister to.
    Great reminder thanks

  2. We all need reminded of this once in a while. I've been on both sides and there's no difference. I was working for God regardless if it was paid by the church, a publishing company or my booking job. I love that -- working for God!

  3. Great reminder to please God in all that we do. He sees what we do even if no one else does, and His reward is great. Blessings!

  4. Very good! God's been showing me this as well, assuring me of this. I am unemployed (and have been for almost 18 months) and He's been showing me new ways to work, such as using my blog as a ministry. It helps my heart to read this. :)

  5. amen, i wish more christians would see that no matter what service we are called to for the Lord, we are all called to give our lives daily for his purpose! :) thanks for this!


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