Every pastor and lay leader has been called by God to lead or assist in leading God’s people. This call is different from any other call, as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 12:7-1:
“7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
Sure, you might be reading this and think, “Ummm, those are gifts not a specific call.” And you’re right; they are the gifts of the Spirit. However, the gifts of the Spirit often go with one’s call. When considering the call to pastor or lead God’s people, many of these gifts go hand-in-hand with being called to pastor.
But there is more to our call to ministry, and it all lies in the spiritual gifts that we have been given. There are two truths to this statement. The first is this: Not every pastor is the same. Right?! This should be obvious; however, it is far too easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other pastors and leaders and think, “Why can’t I pastor like him or her?” Or we buy into every “church growth” and “affective pastor” program that comes down the pike hoping that we can finally start looking like all the other pastors that we often compare ourselves to.
The reality, though, is that every single person that is called to ministry, pastor and lay leader, is called specifically to use the spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit has given them. It’s easy to see from the list of gifts identified by Paul where you fit. You already know! You know because it’s what you do naturally and because it’s where you easily excel. However, it’s just as easy to disregard our own gifts because we get so caught up with comparing ourselves to each other that we lose sight of the amazing gifts that God has given us.
The other truth that I would like to point out is that every pastor or lay leader has been called to use the gifts we have been given, but we have been called for a specific purpose. Some pastors are called to show people exactly how to spread the good news to the world around them. Some are shepherding pastors, called to care for people. Some are called to minister to those in need in the community, and others are called to pastor the forgotten. The underdogs of society.
If you are in ministry, regardless of what that looks like, be the leader that God has called you to be. That’s it. We are not helping people grow in Christ by disregarding the gifts that He has given us and trying to fit into a mold that we were not made to fit in.
So, you’re probably wondering what kind of pastor I am. I believe that I am a pastor to the underdogs. I find myself naturally looking into the margins of life to find those people that are overlooked, and I naturally work to empower and equip them to use the gifts that God has given them.
So, the big question is this: What kind of pastor or lay minister are you?
Finding our Identity in Christ and who we were made to reach is a vital component to our call as ministers. I encourage you to take hold of the gifts God has given you and use them. I also encourage you to BE THE PASTOR GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO BE. There is little time to be comparing ourselves with one another. Celebrate with your brothers and sisters in ministry and rejoice in the fact that God is doing a great work in you and through you!
That’s all for now. I look forward to hearing some feedback and starting a discourse on this week’s topic.
Peace and blessings to you all,