Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Is leaving a full-time ministry leaving ministry?

While I was a student at Southwestern Baptist seminary in Texas, I remembered being told that there were thousands of graduates of Southwestern in the metroplex who had come through our school but were no longer in ministry (i.e. full-time church staff). I've heard Pastors recount how those who graduated with them in seminary years later only a few were still in ministry (i.e. full-time church staff). Their challenge was to stay faithful and to persevere the race marked out for us. I heartily agree with that challenge! However, the more I'm in full-time Christian ministry I see the merit of those who may be working full-time jobs outside of the church being just as involved in full-time ministry as I am. Also, I believe it is wrong to categorize those who may have stepped out of a full-time Christian vocation as having left "the ministry." There are many bivocational pastors on the front lines who are having a huge impact for the Kingdom. In fact, the Apostle Paul was a tentmaker and some argue that the Apostles didn't leave their jobs entirely in following Christ (i.e. they went back to their nets after Christ was crucified).  

So, whether a person is in a paid, full-time Christian vocation or whether a person left that arena and is now in the marketplace, hopefully their vocation/calling stays white hot. Christ has called His followers to "go and make disciples." As long as they have that passion to share Jesus and make disciples, they can do it in whatever profession they choose. The Bible says in Colossians 3:17, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God!

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