the weblog of Alan Knox

Called into full-time ministry…

Posted by on Mar 30, 2006 in elders, scripture, service | 1 comment

Yesterday, in discussing ecclesiology, I made the following statement:

We should not begin with our practices, then justify them with Scripture. We must begin with Scripture when we are developing our ecclesiology.

Today, someone mentioned being “called into full-time ministry.” From the context, I know that he did not mean that God has called him to serve others (minister) full-time, just as God has called all believers to serve and not to be served. Instead, he meant that God had called him to find a vocational position in a local church (probably other than his own local church) in order to earn a living. This is a normal understanding of what it means to be a preacher / pastor / minister – at least among the people that I know.

Did this understanding come from Scripture? Will reading Scripture lead someone to understand that God specially calls some people to stop working a “secular” job in order to be part of a paid staff at a local church? Does Scripture describe the pastor as someone hired from outside the body?

If this idea does not come from Scripture, then from where does it come? And, more importantly, why is this the “normal” practice in our churches today?

One Comment

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  1. 1-4-2014

    In my own case I didn’t just “feel” a call, I was called, literally, by a denominational leader who spoke at a Holy Spirit gathering in 1980, saying “we need your gifts.” Of course, I interpreted what he said in that sermon as a call from God–after time for discernment. I decided, way back then, that it would be okay for me to serve in the institutional church because, at the time, I heard God tell me (not audibly) that it would be better for me to serve as a “pastor” in that church than to say “no” to the call. Why? Because, I said to myself, by saying “no,” I would (1) not really change anything in the institutional church by my protest and (2) deprive any people and communities I would be specifically called to serve of the gifts God had given me to share. So I said yes to the call.

    Now, however, things have changed. I’m not part of that particular denomination any more. I’m in a grey area of service that I won’t go into here. I just thought my previous experience might be helpful for someone to hear.