Should you go into the ministry?

People often talk about leaving their job to “go into The Ministry,” but this phrase is one of the most damaging and unbiblical statements you could possibly buy into. Going “into The Ministry” infers a two-tier structure where one set of believers operate on a carnal level down below in secular employment while the other is somehow elevated to a higher spiritual plain, but worse than that it actually causes real ministers to leave real ministry.

My healing ministry didn't go quite to plan!

My healing ministry!

I once met a young man who was working with youths in his local church. As far as I could see he was doing really well, God was using him to help them and he was benefiting too. Although he had no interest in a denominational career well meaning folk were telling him to “go into the ministry,” which they clearly perceived to be some sort of spiritual promotion. To my horror this very effective and enthusiastic young fellow bought this and was going to walk away from the very youngsters who were benefiting from his help. Far away from any youths he would study for exams and get a title, a plastic card and make everyone who knew him so proud, but where would his ministry and the youths be then? Theological college is a great thing, it helps and equips many people and if you are going to be an expositor or a pastor who has to grasp and teach God’s Word difficult to beat, but how harmful to believe that the only way to be in the ministry is to effectively give up the ministry. Ministry isn’t a position, a title or a certificate, ministry is God flowing through you to others and that means being exactly where those others he wants to touch are!

Ministry is in your workplace, pulpit or shipyard!

No such thing as a secular job in ministry!

Real ministry flows out of a relationship with The Lord, it isn’t dependent on whether you are perceived to have a secular job or a spiritual job and it certainly doesn’t have any bearing on whether you are called reverend, pastor or priest. God’s ministry is down to your love for God and your walk with him. Ministry is God moving through you wherever you are to touch others, it is not a separate career that somehow puts you up a rung in the spiritual ladder. In the days of Jesus there were a group of spiritual professionals called the Pharisees who didn’t understand this, they saw ministry in a very different light. We read a lot about these Pharisees because Jesus knew that there will always be people who are more attracted to The Ministry than to him. These career minded people had no real concept of God’s ministry at all, what they enjoyed was the respect their titles brought, the power they could wield and spiritual authority they thought they had, but where was their humility, sense of justice, love for God and ministry to real people?

Saul left 'the ministry' to minister

Saul left The Ministry for God’s ministry

When I was a pastor I had a ministry, but I had a ministry before I was a pastor and still do now! Having that title never qualified me for ministry, indeed there were times when I had the title, but no ministry. No walk with God equals no ministry, title or not! Should you go into the ministry? Yes, absolutely, but make sure it is God’s ministry and that could mean the pastorate, or staying right where you are now!

Ministry means being yourself.

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About Paul Sinclair

Paul Sinclair, often referred to as The Faster Pastor, has 29 years proven ministry as a pastor, speaker, published author and writer. His wife Marian is from Ghana and has been a minister in song for as many years. When Marian sings… expect an anointing!
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14 Responses to Should you go into the ministry?

  1. This is so very true and resonates with my life’s experience to date. I studied with Paul at Bible College and since then we have been very good friends, we clicked from the beginning because of a mutual spirit and hunger for God. I too have ministered as a Pastor but now am operating still as a full time minister but not as a pastor. I meet with homeless and marginalised people and the hospitalised. God is blessing and His kingdom is still growing, praise God! Thanks Paul, that was so refreshing!

  2. colinbleakney007 says:

    Brilliant post Paul, and a very accurate reflection of ministry as opposed to the perceived concept of “The Ministry.” You sand your wife are invited to come over here to Sunny Northern Ireland as soon as you can make it. I too minister to the lost, the marginalised and homeless people here in Larne. After being. A Pastor for 15 years it is a welcome breath of fresh air!

  3. Interesting to see you are tackling this subject. I have had many discussions with people on this one including in Pioneer with Gerald. Who I think still does not get me on it. Actually from my perception Ministry is never singular, always plural. So a pastor evangelist, prophet whatever job is to prepare the church/body for works of ministry. In other words its the body not the individual who participates and executes ministry. It frustrated me even at EBC times as it seemed to me that what was being done was to exchange the word ministry for career, and there seemed to be very little difference in outcome. In fact Tom Walker once asked me, when he was field superintendent (why did they need a supervisor of fields) if I knew what was the most asked question of students leaving the college and going into full time Elim ‘Ministry’. I did not get the right answer. Can you guess what it was?

  4. Brian Johnson says:

    Agree, if we are created in the image of God and are submited to Him, then being yourself is showing a facet of God that only you can do. God is so immence that individually all we can reflect is one tiny facet but together we show a fuller picture.

  5. geoff says:

    As usual, you have hit the target smack in the middle!! Alleluia! What a Savior!

  6. Mrs Safar. says:

    Totally agree with this! My husband and I have been in constant conversations with church leaders,and people in general about this subject. I believe what ever I do in my every day life is a ministry , what ever I do I do unto the Lord. There is no difference between sacred: and secular: and Christians can separate these two things,and become dualistic in their thinking! This then of course effects peoples actions. My husband who works in business serves the lord in that realm,and felt this was Calling so therefore works whole heartedly and one day will give an account to our Lord!! My self ,when I worked in the work place this is were I served the lord,!! I am a mum raisinsg children, this is my ministry! My hospitality gifts my ministry,my singing gift etc,Out of our being comes our doing.my motivation is always from relationship with God, and my relationship with the people, which I believe is how Jesus worked!! I could go on :and on !!on:We do serve in leadership in a church setting that is fine too. The danger comes when we think ,that those called to church work have a greater calling and should be put on a platform,or even idolized by some!!We are all in ministry ,what ever we do!!!!!!

  7. June Freudenberg says:

    I agree, Paul. Ministry is the calling/opportunity God gives us as Sales Assistant, Doctor, Street sweeper. dentist or whatever. We should do all to the glory of God.

  8. Sue Sundstrom says:

    Paul, you would really enjoy ‘God@work’ by Rich Marshall. It’s all about marketplace ministry….which is totally biblical.

    • Thanks for recommending that book Sue.

      • Good stuff Paul, isn’t,t it amazing what we learn when on the road for a few years?

        It,s a big lure for people to want Ministry recognition and or Salary for the same. It,s a different story when God asks us to do Ministry as an independent from a Salaried position or a so called recognised position.

        I believe, for me that home groups is the way to go.

        Colin

        Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2014 08:56:35 +0000 To: colinbleakney@hotmail.co.uk

      • SueSundstrom says:

        Pleasure Paul. And I would love to meet your wife sometime ( and you my hubby). How about lunch or dinner together? Are you ever near Surrey?

        Sent from Samsung Mobile

        Paul and Marian Sinclair wrote:

  9. adrian2526 says:

    The only thing I didn’t know is that you got a plastic card, where did I go wrong!!!

  10. adrian2526 says:

    Actually not sure I am, I read the shack you see, and I remember the guy meeting Jesus, and he asked Jesus if he could do so and so as a Christian, I liked the reply of the Jesus in the Shack who said “I don’t know I have never been a Christian”.

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