Top 5 church planting lessons over 10 yrs (pt. 3)…

5. Vocational Ministry is only for the called.  I’m really not KNOCKING other careers and occupations when I say that I believe that vocational ministry is the hardest job there is. Before you say “yeah, but…” let me unpack it. I’ve been in the professional world. I worked in real estate for three years before entering the ministry. I know what it’s like out there. I have never questioned myself and my abilities as much as I have since entering the ministry. I NEVER felt the emotional weight I feel in vocational ministry. 

First of all, think about all the hats a Pastor has to wear: Counselor; Therapist; Cheerleader; Prophet; Preacher;  Marry-er; Bury-er;  CEO; CFO; Real Estate investor; Board Member; Boss; Friend; and tons of others, depending on the need of the day!

Above all, there’s the spiritual warfare aspect of my job.  Satan knows if he can take me down, he can damaged the faiths of THOUSANDS of people. Would you say I am a target? Would you say he wants me out of the ministry? Would you say he wants me discouraged? Lazy? Prideful? Undisciplined? Unloving? Unfaithful?  You bet he does; and you can bet he’s got a host of demons assigned to me and every other pastor, because he can do a ton of damage through us!

All of this is why, as pastors, we MUST nail down our call. NOW. Yesterday. If you;re thinking about planting a church, DO NOT PLANT A CHURCH  unless you know that you know that you know that GOD is CALLING you to do so! If you’re in vocational ministry now, or pastoring a church,  and don’t know that you know that you know that God CALLED you into vocational ministry, do yourself and the church a favor. Quit. Resign. Get out. NOW. It’s only a matter of time before you quit anyway. Here’s what Jesus said:

“A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will leave the sheep because they aren’t his and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he is merely hired and has no real concern for the sheep.”  John 10:12-13 (NLT)

You’ve GOT to be called or you will run away when times get tough. If I did not know for CERTAIN that God had called me to do what I’m doing right now, I would have quit DOZENS of times! You will, too!

However, if we KNOW we HAVE been called, it means we KNOW we can’t quit, even when it’s hard. I can’t do anything else! I’m called! Anything else would be to be disobedient to God! We must hold TIGHTLY to the call! When we’re called, this is God’s prayer for us:

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)