“Am I Called?” Scattered notes after reading the book
A few months ago I read a book called, “Am I Called?: The Summons to Pastoral Ministry” by Dave Harvey. My goal in reading the book (and many other like it) was to gain perspective and clarity on the what/where/how/why regarding God calling me to full-time pastoral ministry (currently I am bi-vocational working part-time as a worship leader/coordinator and also in a full-time position outside the church). After reading it I felt more at peace and less stressed about not knowing the exact outcome of the future but also felt a great affirmation that I am pointed in the right direction where I currently am. It gave me a fresh perspective and I have a few small action steps I’d like to take and overall am just trying to trust in God’s sovereignty! I meant for this post to be a book review but I am just going to post several “scattered notes” and quotes from the book that stuck with me. I apologize it is so long! Page numbers are listed for reference.
40-41.Being chosen for ministry is great. Being chosen for sonship is infinitely greater. Who am I? I’m one with Christ, no matter what happens with any specific sense of calling I may have. My union with him is the most important and meaningful thing about me. Keeping this as our source of identity is essential. A man finds out where he truly locates his identity when he can no longer do the ministry he felt called to do.
45 God raises up leaders to ensure the gospel is preached, applied, and valued in the daily life of the church.
46 Pastoral ministry exists for the proclamation and protection of the gospel for people inside and outside of the church.
52 The local church is the essential context for pastoral ministry. This means if you are called to pastoral ministry, you’re called to the church.
56 How sad and all too common is for a young man to spend years in seminary and be cut off from any local church involvement. Then he graduates and somehow thinks that a love for the local church will magically come with the salary he accepts from his first pastorate. Yet a love for the local church is displayed by a commitment to it, realizing that it is the means through which God primarily is building his kingdom and accomplishing his purposes in the world. (Brian Croft), Kentucky pastor
56 He needs to delight in its beauty, long for its happiness, seek for its good, and rejoice in its welfare. He must be willing to spend and to be spent for the sake of the church – Richard Baxter (the reformed pastor)
Be ambitious, aim for service not career.
62 No church can or should hire gifted guys just to keep them in the church, but every church or family of churches should have a strategy for developing and deploying its own pastors.
73 The minister today is nothing more than an ordinary member of the church of Jesus Christ, who is called to express His nature as ‘man of God’ in an especially high degree. -Joel Nederhood
75 God’s work in a man demonstrates Gods call of a man
83 Carson quote “self-fulfillment must never be permitted to become the controlling issues. The issues is service of real people. The question is “how can I be most useful” not “feel” most useful.
The summoned man:
-Works where there is need, not just where he can express his gifts
-Is just as happy to use service to address his weaknesses as to hone his strengths
-Seeks to make the work of those around him a joy
-Uses his influence to promote the church’s good, not his own advancement
-Works with excellence, diligence, and faithfulness for the attention of Christ, not others
-Walks boldly on the path of sacrifice and treads cautiously on the path of promotion
-Joyfully steps back in order to let another man step forward
85 It takes a man’s message and his example to mature a church
Whatever the leaders are, the people will become. -John MacArthur
96 Home is where your leadership starts. “if you want to know whether a man lives an exemplary life, whether he is consistent, whether he can teach and model the truth, and whether he can lead people to salvation, to holiness, and to serve God, then look at the most intimate relationships in this life and see if he can do it there. – John MacArthur
123 Luther said three things make the theologian: oratio (prayer), meditation (meditation), and tentatio (tribulation).
124 If you are wrestling over your call, start asking yourself some heart scanning questions. Invite others into your life and ask them to watch as well. Ask your pastor for opportunities to share the Word and then solicit evaluation.
The gospel factor: Does the man’s preaching move people toward the gospel?
The Bible factor: Does he have an aptitude for doctrine? Does he exegete Scripture competently?
The eagerness factor: Do people get excited when they hear he is scheduled to preach?
The people factor: Does he communicate in a way that helps people? Do people say they feel like he understands them and relates the Bible to the issues they are facing?
The cohesive factor: Are his messages clear and easy to follow?
The guest factor: Are visitors inclined to come back and hear him preach again? Do his sermons make the gospel clear to unbelievers?
133 Shepherding is caring.
-The “preaching as leading” factor: you can establish a preaching diet for the church that sets direction and feeds souls
-the follow him factor: people talk about the impact you have on their lives. Other gifted people want to glean from your life.
-The “make it happen” factor: when you see a need or a problem, you think solutions and action
-The “can you see it” factor: you can see the big picture and have confidence in the future. And when you talk to other people, they see it too.
-The “order from chaos” factor: you understand the value of planning, organization, and efficiency. Your life doesn’t look like an unmade bed.
-The “mobilize the troops” factor: you know the best way to have impact is not to do it all yourself. You love to put people in places where they can be effective and fruitful.
-The “learn to lead” factor: you’re not content with what you know. You study in order to grow in understanding.
-The “godly ambition” factor: you’re not interested in settling in or shrinking back from challenges. You want to do all you can for the advance of the kingdom of God.
Team ministry done well provides:
-A place for men with diverse gifs to contribute their individual strengths to church government
-Relational support for pastors amid the inevitable trials and temptations of ministry
-A multitude of counsel in major areas
-Protection against the domination of one or two strong personalities
-Flexibility to arrange staffing to fit the changing needs of the church
-Multigenerational perspective for the church as young men and seasoned veterans sit at the same tbale of responsibility
A teams wisdom is better than one man’s genius
166 3 cords of a calling
Many guys wonder why God would give them such a strong desire for ministry but not open a door to satisfy it. I like to tell them to interpret that desire as a mandate to prepare. It’s not a license to quit your job or plant a church, at least not yet. It’s the call to prepare your soul, your life, and your mind for the joys and rigors of ministry. Preparation for ministry can feel like a paradox. God calls you to start now, taking on certain tasks you wouldn’t necessarily do apart from the summons. At the same time, God calls you to wait – to trust him as months or years pass and he prepares you for pastoral ministry. You’re taking action while also waiting.
How to do both?
Be honest about your desires, pray, start serving, if in college pursue a vocational direction, pursue counsel and evaluation, study, mature, get your house in order, and patiently observe.
192 God uses the passing of time to test and man and sanctify him.