Wrong Beginning May Result in Serious Consequences
Every day thousands of people in the USA answer God’s call into ministry. Some are very young and some are in the latter years of their life. I know of one Pastor that began Bible College at the age of 69 and took his first Pastorate at the age of 73. Regardless of their age or any challenges, they are to be commended on the fact that they heard God’s voice and said yes to His call.
However, just because God calls an individual into ministry does not relieve that person of properly doing ministry. What do I mean by “properly doing ministry?” Many are under the impression that God’s calling instantly and miraculous qualifies and empowers them, and removes any legal steps that may be necessary for a ministry in that particular locale.
Points to Ponder
Because God called you does not mean or imply that He automatically equips you. Look at the disciples. Jesus hand-picked each of them, but before they were commissioned to engage in ministry Jesus personally mentored them for the task at hand. The Apostle Paul, probably the most learned man in the New Testament apart from Jesus, wrongly assumed that his calling meant instant qualification. Once Paul received prayer and his sight (after his Damascus Road experience), his attempts at ministry almost led to his demise. It was only after his three years in the desert and Barnabas’ desire for Paul to accompany him on a missionary journey, did Paul’s ministry excel (Acts 9; 11; Gal. 1).
Below is just a few of the things any new Minister should consider once he or she has accepted God’s call:
- Biblical instruction
This should be some formal mode of Biblical training. If the new Minister cannot afford to attend Bible College, I suggest he or she contact the International Preacher’s Academy Worldwide (IPAW) to begin a structured, 2 year self-paced study of the Scripture. IPAW is funded via scholarships under the umbrella of the International Congress of Churches and Ministers (ICCM) and may be reached by calling 800-854-5891 for further information.
- Locate your spiritual mentor
Everyone needs a mentor—Elisha had Elijah, Paul had Barnabas, Timothy had Paul. You need someone one seasoned in ministry to speak into your life. Do not get upset when they tell you things you do not want to hear.
- Search and apply applicable local, state, and federal laws pertaining to ministry
Separation of Church and State is not a “get out of jail free card.” Romans 1:1-6 clearly instructs us to obey the laws of the land. Failure to do so will initiate an unwanted prison ministry for you.
Start Right—End Right
Any minister can search out and obtain the correct Biblical training based upon their Scriptural upbringing. Anyone can search out the mentor they want speaking into their life. However, when it comes to the ministry portion that pertains to local, state, and federal laws, not having an expert in that field could result in huge financial penalties or prison time.
A new Minister in Phoenix, AZ felt impressed to begin a Church in his home. He had no clue that local law and zoning regulations imposed restrictions. He did not seek proper legal counsel, and after a few months was arrested, found guilty, and had to serve a 60 day jail sentence.
I also doubt if that Minister sought proper counsel in regards to state and federal regulations. Was he legally incorporated in Arizona? Did he obtain a legal 501 (c) (3)? Did he obtain proper bylaws? These are just some of the questions, that if were not properly answered, will result in severe consequences for him, his family, and his ministry.
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