I remember when as an early Christian, my husband would sit on the front row just waiting to preach his next sermon. The pastor rarely asked him to teach or preach, while Jeff sat patiently waiting for his season to come. While he waited, he studied, went to school and found every available resource to educate himself to be wiser in the word and wise with his actions. He worked a secular job however upon arriving back home, he would immediately go to the church. He would pray, mow the yard, clean the church and do anything for the pastor including hospital visitation. He became a servant during his time of waiting. He served in every venue the church had going on, including just about every ministry and every outreach. His actions proved to be that he had a heart to minister and to touch others lives with not only the gospel in pulpit time but also in home bible studies as with his actions in servanthood. Being a minister for the gospel of Jesus Christ is not all about standing up in front of people proclaiming what you know but ministering also with character, actions and integrity. My husband waited for almost 14 years before becoming a pastor of a congregation although he was used in the gift of faith, healing and tongues. What we know or how God uses us is not always the determining factor of pulpit time.
We recently went to a leadership conference where Pastor Hornsby made mention of those wanting pulpit time or a public ministry in the church or at least the microphone during the service. His warning to use wise decisions was worth noting about. When young Christians are so easily touched by their new life or experience they are ready to take on the world and feel called to preach, however their knowledge or wisdom in using words may not be so well-developed, therefore they wait for their season. Through many trial and errors, pastors have learned not to give their pulpit to anyone they are unfamiliar with because as a pastor, you guard your sheep and protect them from others who may but not intentionally harm. As country churches, many let just about anyone sing, play or preach cause a family member knows them, they heard them at another church but however it should be noted that just because someone may have a talent or speak well doesn’t mean they live a Christian lifestyle. Therefore you protect your sheep from those who may influence your sheep to another direction.
Horsby also spoke how true leaders have an attitude of serving and if there is no serving, you simply shoot yourself in the foot and walk with a limp hindering the call you have on your life from God. Instead of using authority of “I am called by God” there is more influence with people by serving therefore opening your ministry to touch others through different venues besides pulpit time. This is what he says do when someone comes to him and says, “I have a ministry” or “I want to start a ministry” or “I am called to preach or teach others the gospel”. He puts a red flag on them right off the top when they put “I” first. He stated that what they were truly saying was, “I want an announcement and I want pulpit time” as if they state they deserve being elevated because of their knowledge or gifts. He in turn makes them wait for six months to prepare and see if they have a heart to truly minister to people by serving others and getting involved with seeing the Kingdom grow. If they sit without action, they are wanting only to elevate themselves and not the Kingdom. He said most of the time after six months have passed, they have forgotten about “their ministry” because it wasn’t God called but a way to elevate self in front of others. However, if they put on a heart of servanthood their pulpit time is welcomed and encouraged.
Many people who think they are called want pulpit time. They feel as though they should pastor or be an evangelist, or teacher. Although these callings are all so wonderful and true, our greatest attribute to show is being humble and produce the fruit of the spirit along with servanthood actions. My husband certainly didn’t “earn” his place but graciously walked into the calling as God lifted him up.
Now you may be wondering why I am writing about such a topic and that it may or may not pertain to you when it comes to the five fold ministry. However, we all are called to serve for the Kingdom, enhance our relationship with Jesus Christ and to continue to walk as a Christian and grow spiritually. How do we learn and grow or be elevated? It is the best blessing of all and that is to serve as Jesus did. He calls us to be a servant, to give to others and lay down our lives for the cause of another. If you are willing to do this, then my friend, your season will come, for you reap what you sow whether it be in the pulpit or on the pew or other ministries. If you are not the type of person who seeks to stand and proclaim in front of crowds, what about standing up in front of your family and friends? God will elevate you to have boldness to witness, proclaim and teach to them. They will listen if you have given yourself to them in servanthood.
At PromiseLand we are in a campaign called, “Be a hero”. Whenever you volunteer in any of the facets of ministries, you become a hero. A hero is where others come before the “I”. Yes, it takes time, money, resources, and it is work but in turn it is all worth it to have a self-giving attitude verses the ‘what I want’. As you give yourself to others, you grow into a place where Jesus wants you the most and that is loving others and showing it.
Prayer: Lord forgive me for my selfish attitude at times and show me where I need to be serving for your Kingdom. I know in due time we all reap what we sow, therefore I choose to serve you by serving others. In Jesus name. Amen.
I Peter 4:10 New American Standard Bible (©1995)
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.