KNOW THE STATE OF YOUR FLOCKS
A word for those with ministry callings
by Pam Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Do you believe you have a call to ministry? Is there joy mingled with fear? Are you already in ministry? Are there burdens, triumphs and frustrations? Do weird and dumb things happen for seemingly no reason? Welcome to the ministry!
God is impressive so those who are called to His ministry can also look impressive. But it’s not always all it is cracked up to be, as they say. People love the strength, but they don’t always love all the disciplines required. And believe me, if it is the real deal, they are required.
The Bible tells us to know the state of our flocks. Proverbs 27:23 “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds.”
There are many well meaning wannabes. But if you are really called of God, it will keep you up at night. Your encounters with Him will give you the frustration of many unrealized dreams. You know He can….. but where is His will? It’s there, but there is also a posture required.
Many of our desires are based on relief issues. We want to be relieved of our many troubles and burdens. It’s not unusual for us to play “Let’s Make A Deal” with God. If it works, we believe it will give us a great sense of accomplishment. After all, we all like playing the hero or heroine, don’t we?
God is working on us, and our unbelief and disgruntledness does not bother Him. Probably other wannabes bother us more than anything, because it makes us aware of our own flesh. And we all still have some of that, that we really don’t want to own up to because it is unpleasant.
But, the gifts and the callings of God are without repentance on His part. (Romans 11:29) It means He is not going to change His mind, even if we work to change the circumstances.
Suddenly you can realize how easy it is just to submit to someone else. There is a much greater burden when you have the responsibility of caring for others. And, you realize that God will call you into account for it, and then if the people do not cooperate, you will wonder why in the world are you doing this? Did you miss it? Probably not!
The first thing God has to train us in, (and there is a pattern here that will apply for advanced ministry training), is that this is about His program and not ours. It’s easy to follow God and do His work when times are good and pleasant. Things seem so “optional” and full of choices, none of which are that critical. But when there is a pull from God from Heaven to Earth and the people are not quite getting it, there is a real internal battle.
Sometimes we want to “opt out” and we can’t escape the call or the tug. It is at this place where our faith really has the opportunity to grow because it is being stretched. God will change our mindsets and paradigms (references for truths) and our focus will have to be more on Him than it was before, and frankly, it can get lonely! Because no one else wants to go there either, until you are established in it.
Then you can get a crowd because the strength is evidenced and proven, and you are able to carry the weight of it and it will impress others. But peoples’ fancies are fickle, and if you only want to impress people, your victory may be short lived.
So what is going on here? God is going after the depths of your soul. He wants to abide in you. He wants to fellowship in your being and be your inner man. I have to tell this story here. One time I was at a Ladies Prayer Group and one woman prayed that God would bless our inner woman. A mature prophetess friend of mine had joined me that day and she sternly said to me, “No! It is not the inner woman, it is the inner man!”
Because we were in a public setting, we didn’t really have the atmosphere to talk about it then, but as I pondered it, I realized she was right. Jesus is our inner man. It’s about Him.
The dominion of God is an amazing thing. In the Lord’s prayer for us, we are taught to pray, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done.” God has a plan and a program and He is looking for volunteers who will be willing in the days of battle.
Now, God could just do a take over, but then He would not have companions. If He just forced His will on people, then people would fear Him but never share true fellowship with Him. God is so big and so vast, and with the honor we have of being created in His image, the places we can go in Him are really remarkable.
Many things have to be veiled from our eyes because we are not yet ready to see. But we can go from faith to faith, strength to strength, and glory to glory. Our faith is our willing agreement with Him. Our strength comes from the joy of that belief. And the glory is seeing His Kingdom rule and reign.
Are you called to the ministry? Then what are you doing? In truth, we are always working on ourselves. We are working on seeing what needs to be corrected and how we can be more open to His Spirit – which is overcoming Love. We have to learn the true nature of His Spirit, because there is a competition on this earth for it. And you can see that anywhere you might want to go.
It is one thing to have a personal walk with the Lord, but any walk with Him will reveal that you have to be more like Him and enter into the service of ministry – because that is what He is all about. The more you engage in that, the more you realize that you do need His Presence and His Guidance. Otherwise you are just going through the motions and you won’t find the fellowship where you can hear Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful one.”
But if you enter into that kind of relationship of walking with Him, you won’t have to wait for your death, burial and resurrection to hear Him say it. He will say it many times along the way. Then the fellowship becomes sweet and and the depth of the relationship becomes deeper and deeper.
God found David, before he was king, out in the fields tending his sheep. When you are out in the wilderness for long hours every day like that, they become like your pets. You notice their conditions and if you have a good heart, you tend them and care for them. As a young man, the Lord saw David having compassions and a heart of praise to Him. He would sing and correct them, carry the weak ones, and be gentle with the ones who were heavy in their pregnancies.
He had a heart of compassion after the Lord’s heart, that went beyond just thinking about himself. He enjoyed the Lord and shared it with whomever or what ever was around him. Later even his songs would be used to soothe a restless and rebellious king and they would open the doors to the palace for him. But once at the palace, he had to learn new things all over again.
If God has called you to ministry, it is important to know the state of your flocks. God is not giving you people to control, but to minister to. God does not assign ministers to take over for Him, but to help Him in reaching the hearts and minds and lives of people.
We have to seek out His Kingdom order, if we are going to pray with sincerity for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done. What kind of reign does God want? We can learn much about it if we look at the way He has set up His ministry callings.
There is the five fold ministry office callings found in Ephesians 4:11-16 that gives us the job description for each one. Through this understanding, we can quickly determine if someone really does operate in their ministerial calling.
Like spokes on a wheel, where each one is required for proper balance and function, we can see the design God has set in place. True Spiritual health is when we can operate in each of these ministries, but often called ministers will specialize in one or two more predominately.
And for those who don’t feel a public call to ministry, they really will have a heart that leans strongly in these directions, and they are willing to support it in the ways that they can.
There is the:
1. Teaching ministry – they want to see people taught the word and ways of God
2. Pastoral ministry – they want to care for the body’s personal needs and spiritual health
3. Evangelistic ministry – they want to seek and save the lost
4. Prophetic ministry – they want to declare and minister the prophetic words of God and promote good and healthy vision (outlook for the future)
5. Apostolic ministry – they want to save redeem areas and territories for the Lord and do missionary works for Jesus
6. And there is the ministry of helps. This can be a multitude of other things, be it worship, working with kids, some may cook, some may physically build, who knows it all, but God?
All these are meant to work together. Since God is the One who is putting it together, looking to accurately identify callings and potential callings can reveal some of His secrets about what He is doing and even give us ideas about the direction He is leading in. Knowing our gifts is a good way to prepare for the future.
Things work so much better when there is a team ministry. We all have good and bad days, and moral and spiritual support goes a long way.
We really need to (1) seek and save that which is lost like Jeus did – evangelize. (2) We need to groom them (get them cleaned up for their own walk) and (3) ground them in learning how to seek the Lord through His Word – pastoral and teaching. (4) We need to help set them on a course for their life – prophetic. And (5) we need to encourage people to reach out to others in different mission programs – apostolic.
We need to bless all these different ministries. In seeking to cooperate with God’s ministry this way, awesome things will be revealed and manifested of the Lord’s glory. We will truly become Christians – or anointed ones, as the word means.
When we release the burden of the people to God’s ways of ministering, we will find that we are not carrying the load, but He is. Then we can enjoy our own walk more fully and still find that much is being accomplished in the heavenly realms of our own life.
God bless you in His service!