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God's Call - Pastoral Wisdom on the Ministry Call

John Bisagno – Letters to Timothy - Read Charles Spurgeon’s “How to Know the Call of the Ministry” in Lectures to My Students…summarizes the five main points that influenced him

1. Desire – “There was a time when I was passionate about the music ministry, but simultaneously that passion began to fade and a new passion to preach begins to grow. I wanted it more than anything else, and I knew it to be the call of God. He will put the desire in the sincere heart to do what he wants done…if you can do anything else but preach, by all means, don’t preach. But if the passion burns, then you must preach. If it is your all-consuming, magnificent obsession, then do it.” (34-35)
2. Ability – “This is not to say you will be the greatest orator….God gives us some natural abilities and gifts to do what he wants us to do…If you have the ability to organize your thoughts and express them, let alone some special skills in communication, and this is reinforced with a passion to sue them, then the call of God is indicated.” (35)
3. Opportunity – “Where God leaves us to serve and gifts us to serve, he provides opportunity to serve. Open and closed doors are important in reading the hand of God in our lives…God will open the door for you to do what he wants you to do. A closed door is usually an indication of wrong timing or a detour.” (35)
4. Blessing – “There should be some degree of visible affirmation of your ministry as you pursue it.” (35-36)
5. The Opinion of Others – “Discuss your decision with those in whom you have great spiritual confidence. Ask their advice; seek their counsel. Let them hear your heart, and listen to them.” (36)

“Find God’s tailor-made will for you and do it…Don’t be deterred. If God has called you, God will use you…don’t drift from your call. Better to be on a side street in Calcutta in the will of God than in the White House in Washington, D.C., out of his will. If you’re called to be a servant of the king, don’t stoop to be president. The body of Christ has many parts and many different kinds of folks, and the toes are just as important as the hands.” (38)

Curtis C. Thomas – Practical Wisdom for Pastors: Words of encouragement and counsel for a lifetime of ministry (21)
1. “Does the man reach out for the work?”
2. “Is he qualified biblically?”
3. “Does he possess the gifts necessary to fulfill the functions?”
4. “Do the elders and the church think he is gifted and morally qualified?”
5. “Are his life and doctrine sound?”
6. “Will he live as an example before the flock?”

Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, “The Call to Ministry”
1. “an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work…this desire must be a thoughtful one…the desire I have spoken of must be thoroughly disinterested…[no] other motive than the glory of God and the good of souls…[a desire] that continues with us, a passion which bears the test of trial” (27-28)
2. “aptness to teach and some measure of the other qualities needful for the office of a public instructor…mere ability to edify, and aptness to teach, is not enough; there must be other talents to complete the pastoral character. Sound judgment and solid experience must instruct you; gentle manners and loving affections must sway you; firmness and courage must be manifest; and tenderness and sympathy must not be lacking…Gifts administrative in ruling well…be fitted to lead, prepared to endure, and able to perservere…read carefully the qualifications of a bishop, given in 1 Tim. iii. 2-7 and in Titus i. 6-9” (28-31)
3. “must see a measure of conversion-work going on under his efforts…if the Lord gives you no zeal for souls…avoid the pulpit as your heart’s peace and your future salvation” (31-32)
4. “your preaching should be acceptable to the people of God…none of you can be pastors without the loving consent of the flock…the sheep will know the God-sent shepherd” (32-33)

John Newton’s letter to a friend on the call to ministry:
1. “A warm and earnest desire to be employed in this service…[not] from a selfish principle…[but] from the Spirit of God”
2. “some competent sufficiency as to gifts, knowledge, and utterance”
3. “a gradual train of circumstances pointing out the means, the time, the place, of actually entering upon the work”

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