by Matthew Delaughter
Who Decides He is Called?
Growing up in Western Culture, we have been told to pursue our dreams and not to let anyone tell us any different. Sadly, this cultural thinking has polluted the way we think about calling in the church. Many have been grown up in the church to think that if they like to preach or go on mission trips, then that means they are called to full-time pastoral ministry. Desire is important as 1 Timothy 3:1 says that an overseer must desire the noble task. We also see, though, in the qualifications that desire to teach and ability to teach really isn’t enough, as one must also be above reproach in character.
The question, then, is who gets to decide one’s calling? Who gets to decide whether someone goes out to plant a church or not?
Church planters should be church-affirmed as they are sent out, because it is the Holy Spirit who affirms through the witness of Christ’s church.
We have an example of this in Acts 13 with the church of Antioch. The church of Antioch is a great example because it is not as if Paul and Barnabas’ aptness to teach and their holy life confirmed that they should be sent out. Now I am not saying that we should wait for a voice from Heaven before we send someone out, but I do think that all sending works must be preceded with prayer and fasting. Why? Because we want to send out people affirmed by the church under the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul’s background in the Bible definitely helped his explanation of the gospel as he went out on three missionary journeys, but Paul’s success in planting churches came only because of the call and power of the Holy Spirit on his life.
So, may this sober us as the church when we think about who we want raise up in leadership and who we want to send. Like I said in earlier posts, innovation, creativity, and savvy leadership can be very helpful, but when we prioritize someone who is full of the Holy Spirit, we will plant churches that are empowered by the Holy Spirit as well.
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