Serving God’s precious people is a wonderful thing. I have a friend who always reminds me that we are in ministry not for the personal gain and gratification (income) but for the positive impact on the lives of God’s people (outcome) – and I totally agree.
Have you been called into kingdom service? When you look at yourself in the mirror – the mirror of God’s Word, how do you see it? How do you see ministry? The mirror always reflects Truth. If you’re seeing right you can’t ask, “My right may be your wrong, isn’t that perfectly fitting?” No, it’s not all right. The standard of right and wrong exists – the Word reveals it. God’s Word is the final authority for everything. Like a reliable manual for life, it stands true and unfailing. It contains boundaries that keep us. That’s how I see it.
I’m writing this post to encourage my generation of ‘upcoming’ ministers who may feel frustrated, disappointed, discouraged and even overlooked or ignored from time to time. One main thing I will say to you is this: Do not give up or throw in the towel because God who began the good work in you is faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
Many times when God calls you into ministry, you have no full comprehension of what you’re supposed to do but your availability and willingness to receive instruction is what will help you grow from one level to another. Most of us have a tendency to want to flourish at supersonic speed and crave for the glamor, too. We get saved today and a year into it we want to be preaching to millions in stadiums or through the airwaves. There’s nothing wrong with desiring that you cannot be what you’re not God-ordained for. What if God has commissioned you to those 20-30 people in your neighborhood? What if your assignment is to some 5 people in some remote village in Africa? Then you miss it.
Plenty of the young upcoming ministers would like to do service in the cities. The city is classier – I get it. I saw something in the Bible that gave me an interesting interpretation on those lines. When John the Baptist was given his assignment, he was sent into the wilderness; he was the one crying in the wilderness and through his message of repentance, he worked to prepare the way of the Lord. How do we know he was supposed to preach in the wild? Because for starters this was his outfit: Clothes made with camel’s hair, with a leather belt. And this was his diet: Locusts and wild honey. (Matthew 3:4). This should give us a clear idea of where John the Baptist had been sent to. Nevertheless in Matthew 14 we see that he tweaked his message and got himself into the palace (and not at the king’s table). John the Baptist left the wild to come and condemn the ills in the city. Was he doing the right thing? Absolutely! Is that what God had assigned him to do? Not really – and he found his head on a platter! (Matthew 14:1-12)
Have you been called to ministry? Learn when to shut up. There are many platters waiting to have your head – do not give them a chance!
Here are some vital lessons:
1. Don’t break your rank: I have learned to not overstep my boundaries when serving. Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). Time and again I’ve had to ask myself this question: Where/what position does God want me? What does He want me to respond to (if at all) – and how? I realize that I am just one of the soldiers in the Lord’s Army. In this army, I have a rank and am most effective when I stay in my rank.
In the book of Joel, we read:
7They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course. 8 They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks. – Joel 2:7-8
Be sure of your rank. Are you a General, a Captain of thousands or hundreds or tens? Are you a Commander of the body-guard or Captain of the chariots? You cannot be everything neither can you be everywhere. God has designed it that when we stay within our respective ranks there is order and none of us grows tired or stumbles, none of us slumbers so that none of us is caught off guard. (Isaiah 5:27)
2. You must have spiritual covering: We all need covering for accountability, protection, spiritual care or administrative purposes. Think of Elijah with Elisha, Jesus and the disciples, Paul with Timothy and Moses and Joshua. Spiritual covering is essentially a relationship of the heart, which should not be rushed into, but prayerfully considered. It is important in that it provides an avenue for the flow of anointing in the church of Jesus Christ. When you are under spiritual covering it is vital to submit otherwise you miss out on the blessing and the anointing.
3. Don’t start thinking you’re a better preacher/minister than your pastor or leader: Sometimes we receive an ‘astounding’ revelation from God and when we share it with a few people in our circle, we get applause. Then pride sets in. “I wonder why my pastor has never delivered this message this way.” Or “How come they have never given me a chance to preach?” (Er …it’s not your pulpit! Whoever has the vision has the “right” to allow or deny you the chance to preach/minister on it.) When you start entertaining such thoughts you’re most likely staring at the barrel of a loaded gun.
Listen; if God thought you were the better preacher, don’t you think that you would be the resident preacher? Better yet, don’t you think that God would have given you that particular vision? There is a reason why He gave the vision to your current leader and not you. By the way, it is not about you, your preaching or your message but about God, God’s people and the message of Cross of Jesus Christ.
Remember it’s important to have a spiritual covering – your pastor or the leadership of your local church is one such covering.
Yes, you have been called to ministry, but are you flexible?
4. Be ready to be deployed: This calls for flexibility. In the military deployment is necessary so as to form an extended front or line. Likewise in the Lord’s Army we may be reassigned, relocated or repositioned for various reasons. As my physical age increases, I find that embracing change is not as effortless as it used to be but also, I have come to the realization that with growth comes change. Therefore, for me to grow spiritually and obtain victory in my ministerial endeavors there’s got to be a shifting.
When you’re in ministry you must be willing to allow yourself, as a vessel, to be commissioned in different capacities of service or placed on modified assignment as it is deemed fit. This is for the benefit of the body of Christ. God is a God of order as we see in Numbers chapter 2. He spoke to Moses to arrange Israel into specific divisions; including details of who was to set out first, second and so forth (Numbers 2:9,16,17, 31). Also in Joshua chapter 6, God gave Joshua some instructions (Joshua 6:2-5), Joshua organized the ‘deployment’ (Joshua 6:8) and those called to service obeyed hence received their victory (Joshua 6:8-21).
There is a Moses or Joshua in your life and this is probably your pastor. He/she may shift you around from department to department and you may not be thrilled about it but like the army in Joshua’s day, “Take your orders and advance! March around the city and do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day you are told to shout. Then shout!” (Joshua 6:7, 10) Obedience to authority is paramount to stability and success in ministry as well as life. (Hebrews 13:17)
Another account is given in 2 Chronicles 20 where Jehoshaphat hears that a vast army is coming to attack them. He inquires of the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:5-12) and God sends an answer (2 Chronicles 20:14-16). Listen, the person moving you from place to place is not your enemy. Believe that he/she must have inquired from God and your shifting is necessary so that you may “take up your position” (2 Chronicles 20:17) in order to possess the victory that lies ahead. Surely, when you have faith in God you will be upheld; and when you have faith in God’s prophets (your spiritual covering) you will be successful. (2 Chronicles 20:20)
5. You have a responsibility to use your gifts: So you believe that you have some gifts – good! We are all gifted in different ways and this is for the benefit of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:1-30). Apart from God, only you know you. Your pastor or other church members are not responsible for identifying your gift or making you exercise it. You are! When you use your gift it will make room for you and bring you before people who matter as far as your calling is concerned. (Proverbs 18:16)
Talking about gifts… the picture you see here makes me think about Romans 12:3 which says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (See also Philippians 2:3 NLT) An apostle friend of mine says it this way, “Quit telling us how anointed or gifted you are. If we can’t see it then it’s not there so quit making noise and get to work!”
Think about it, if you’ve been to 2 or 3 (or more) different churches and no one ‘recognizes’ your gift or they think otherwise about it… then maybe – just maybe you have your mind set on a gift that God didn’t put in you or you’re not exercising your gift as you should.
In conclusion, so you’re gifted/anointed but please don’t over step your boundaries (just because your pastor is out of town or you think you’re better than they are).Until God specifically opens a door for you to leave your current place of service you are supposed to stay put, being faithful in any ‘minor’ tasks you’re assigned or in any ‘unpleasant’ positions of deployment because if you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. (Luke 16:10) So whatever you do, never let anger, frustration or dissatisfaction drive you away from the place where you are planted and receive spiritual nourishment – just because people didn’t recognize you/your gifts. Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1) If you’re in ministry for people to recognize you, then you have no part in God’s reward but when God takes note of you, dear sister, dear brother…you’re in a great place.
That’s just how I see it. How do you see it?
Copyright © 2015 Dee Kyalo-Mwanzia
Dee is the author of Crushing Invisible Barriers and Looking Up . Check out the cool reviews and ‘like’ us on Facebook! Both books are available here now.