Over the last few years of reading his blog, I’ve found Dave Black’s writing to be encouraging at times, challenging at times, but always for the health of the church.
Think about that for a moment: for the health of the church. He doesn’t write just to write, just to pontificate on his own intelligence or understandings. He writes to build up his brothers and sisters in Christ.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that his brothers and sisters will always agree with or accept what he writes.
I think that’s certainly the case with this latest challenge (from Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 10:36 a.m.):
I have a question today, a question to which I do not know the answer. When will appeals for vocations to the ministry end? And when, in their place, will the church encourage all of its members to seek God’s will for the area of ministry in which they can most effectively be used by Him? I propose that we never again use the expression “call to the ministry” unless we are careful to apply it to each and every Christian. All this will neither be easy nor popular. Yet at some point it must be done. One of the main reasons for burn-out in the pastorate is that it is often carried out alone. The New Testament never envisaged such a predicament. Ministry needs to be shared. Jesus realized this: He sent out the apostles two by two. Paul realized this when he appointed elders (note the plural) in every church. And it needs to be modeled by today’s Christian leaders. It is not until church members are enthusiastic about their own God-given gifts that we will succeed in being the Body of Christ.
He’s right. We’ve all been “called to the ministry” – that is, we’ve all been called by God to use our gifts, talents, energies, and opportunities to serve one another and the people around us. There is no other type of service.
If you are using “called to the ministry” in a way that separates some Christians from others, then I don’t think you’re helping the church.