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Is call to ministry important these days?  To be honest, I don’t hear the words ‘called to ministry’ much anymore.  Heard it all the time when I was growing up… either you were ‘called to ministry’ or your were not.  If you were ‘called to ministry’ and you decided at any point that God had you in anything other than a church role… well, then you had some ‘splainin’ to do. Perhaps the whole discussion of ‘calling’ broke down when the church started hiring so many specialists.  Sure, senior pastors are ‘called’.  But what about children’s pastors; and music pastors, and tech people; and first impressions staff… the list goes on and on. That’s why I was glad to hear about Andrew Warnock’s 9 minute interview with Matt Chandler on “Calling to Ministry.  It’s obviously a couple of years old… but great, none the less.”  Take a look and tell me what you think. Specificially… 1.  How important is ‘calling’? 2.  Tell us about your ‘calling. 3.  Do you require that people on your staff feel ‘called’?  What does that look like? I’d love to hear from you! Todd

Hmmm…  That’s an interesting quote.  Take a moment to read this:  a recent study by Tufts University is telling stories about pastors who do NOT believe what they preach.  In fact, some are true atheists… Baptist Press recently did a story on this. Check out this quote: “Ambiguity regarding who is a believer in Jesus and who is a nonbeliever, the report said, is a result of the pluralism that has been fostered by many religious leaders for at least a century.” Here’s a bit more from the article: One pastor, a Methodist, said he no longer believes that God exists, but his church members do not know that he is an atheist. Most of them, he said, don’t even believe Jesus literally rose from the dead or literally was born of a virgin. Another pastor, from the United Church of Christ, said he didn’t even believe in the doctrinal content of the Christian faith at the beginning of his ministry, but he continues to preach as if he believes because it’s the way of life he knows. A Presbyterian pastor in the study said he remains in ministry largely for financial reasons and acknowledged that if he were to make known that he rejects most tenets of the Christian faith he would obliterate his “ability to earn a living this way.” A Church of Christ pastor explained how he continues to lead his church despite losing all theological confidence. “Here’s how I’m handling my job on Sunday mornings: I see it as play acting. I see myself as taking on the role of a believer in a worship service, and performing,” the pastor said. He describes himself as an atheistic agnostic and said he still needs the ministerial job and no longer believes hypocrisy is wrong. A Southern Baptist pastor included in the study said he was attracted to Christianity as a religion of love and now has become an atheist. If someone would offer him $200,000, he said, he’d leave the ministry right away. You can read the whole article here. As I was reading this article, I thought… sure… there are always finge people… even pastors who leave the faith. But the quote from the guy who said if someone would offer him enough money, he’d leave the ministry made me stop dead in my tracks. Why? Because I think a lot of pastors, while they haven’t lost their faith (entirely), would leave the ministry in a heartbeat if they had the chance.  But they feel trapped. They’d leave the ministry for a number of reasons:  the stress; the toll on the family; the 24 hour work clock; the low pay; church politics… you name it.  But they don’t leave because they don’t know what else in the world they are skilled to do. They say ‘every man has his price’.  What’s yours? $200,000? Church work is an admirable vocation.  But if you’re not called to it… can I say this nicely?… get out. If you’re at the point that you don’t believe what you preach anymore… get out. If you’re at a point where you’d take another position because it pays more money, has better hours, or has better, nicer people… get out. And if you’re convinced that you have no other marketable skills and the church gig is the only thing you know how to do… quick… take some online classes and learn a new skill. And if you HATE what you’re doing… please, by all means, quit today. Am I wrong?  Let me know. Todd