Ministry is not for the faint of heart, nor the uncalled. It is not a career path to choose, a job that simply pays the bills, nor simply something to try when no other career seems to work. Christian ministry is a path that can only be taken when God calls. This is what Dave Harvey discusses in his book Am I Called? The Summons to Pastoral Ministry published by Crossway. In the book Dave briefly discusses how one should approach the call to ministry. The call to ministry is not merely a call to do something. Christian ministry is mainly a call to someone, namely Jesus. The call to ministry must be understood in the context of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Someone who has never been called to salvation cannot be called ministry. The cart cannot come before the horse.
Throughout the majority of his book Dave spends time asking six diagnostic questions for person considering a call to ministry. These six questions probe deep into the person and serve as a warning to anyone desiring to enter the ministry. Failure in any of these questions does not automatically mean that a person is not called to ministry. It means that the person must consider areas where they need to grow before they seek a ministry position. A person must be careful not to mistake the call to be a disciple-maker for the specific calling to be a pastor or ministry leader. All believers are called to minister and make disciples wherever the Lord has placed them in life. However, the Lord calls some people to be leaders in the local church to equip the saints for the work of ministry. The last chapter which discusses the concept of waiting proves extremely helpful because this can be the toughest part of the call. Many people who are called to ministry struggle in “the in-between.” This is a time between the call and first place of service. It can also be an extended season between ministry posts. If used correctly this season can prove to be an important time of discipleship and growth.
I would personally recommend Am I Called? to anyone considering serving the local church in pastoral ministry, and to those considering leaving pastoral ministry. This book has been extremely helpful for me as I have entered a season of ministry transition.
(I received this book through the Crossway Review program “Beyond the Page” in exchange for an honest review of the book.)