One of the most satisfying moments in ministry is when we see men and boys called of the Lord to serve full-time. It is wonderful when a man of God has a, “son in the ministry.” In truth it is the natural order of things. Men in the ministry ought to produce men for the ministry. Let me be quick to say that a man can be a faithful minister all of his life and never see another man enter the ministry. However, as laborers in the fields we ought to work to see others join the work. Of course, saying and seeing it are two different things.
God does call men and boys to ministry! We have two wonderful examples in the Old Testament. According to Jeremiah 1:4–9, Jeremiah, was called of God to the ministry as a boy. This passage was written by Jeremiah as an older man looking back on his calling and ministry. He reveals that God had fashioned him for preaching, called him as a boy, and then enabled him to preach. Isaiah’s call was different. Most scholars believe that Isaiah’s call, recorded in Isaiah 6, occurred when Isaiah was over the age of twenty. He was an educated man and spiritually minded but it took a great secular political event to reveal to Isaiah his call. In the New Testament, Timothy was aware as a boy of the call of God on his life and was reminded of Paul to be faithful in that calling.
My point is simple; God did and still does call men and boys to ministry. We must be careful not to do the choosing for God. But we must also be careful to create the atmosphere where men and boys are able to hear the voice of God in the matter of ministry. Consider with me three ingredients necessary if we are going to see more men and boys called into the ministry:
1. The Touch
As pastors, we need a burden in our hearts that motivates us while we minister to see men called into the ministry. Dr. Lee Roberson once said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” I love saying that, but I am not as fond of accepting the responsibility it brings to my life. There are three areas we should concentrate on in our personal walk so that God can use our ministering to touch others concerning His call.
“Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2
We are careful to remind ourselves about that command during missions’ conference time but it needs to be a daily prayer request in our lives. It is not the force of our personality or even the fire in our preaching that will ultimately call men to ministry; it is the touch of God upon their lives. We must pray generally for all men but then specifically for those on whom we believe God is working.
Our goal must be to teach and preach the Word of God in such a way as to reveal the need, the possibility of service, and the promises of God to those who will serve. As shepherds we must guide them to the place where—away from the distractions—they can hear the still, small voice of God.
By our person I do not mean our appearance, though it would be wise to give attention to it. I really mean our attitude. Do we love the ministry and communicate our passion for ministering and our satisfaction in fulfilling our call? Are we transparent and accessible to those that are listening for God’s call to ministry? Remember, we encourage men by who we are, what we say, and what we have them do.
2. The Tactics
Every formal ministry of the church should understand its part in encouraging young men to hear the call of God. They are all part of a team. Whether it is Sunday school, junior church, or children’s groups on Wednesday evening, there is one goal. We recently started a SEALS (Servants Enlisted As the Lord’s Servants) club at Heritage Baptist Church. It is a soulwinning club for fifth grade through seventh grade that has the goal of making ministering attainable to young people. Missions conferences, revivals, and chapels should include, when appropriate, a challenge to consider full-time service.
Your tactics are determined by your goal. In preparing this article I ran across an interesting article by Greg Stier entitled “Why Mormons Do Better Youth Ministry Than We Do.” He suggested something in the article that I found very interesting, Mormons expect more of their teens than we do. All of their youth training is pointed toward two years of mission service and a lifetime of faithfulness to the Mormon religion. They expect it!
I wonder if our tactics suggest that our expectations are not high enough for our teens and our men. I do not think we ought to conscript men and boys to service. However, what if every teen in our church went on a mission trip, or fulfilled a short term mission service before or after college?
3. The Teaching
Not only must we give attention to ourselves and our tactics, but we must consider what we teach. We are involved in a great spiritual warfare. We are not survivalists hunkering down behind our church walls. We are an incredible offensive force against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. We need to encourage our men and boys to read the biographies of other great Christian warriors. Talk about great moments of victory in revival. Encourage men to give testimonies of victory. We are on the winning side; say it!
Our job is not only to pray for laborers, but also to help our men and boys lift up their eyes and see the harvest. We must have a vision of God calling men and boys from our churches and then work to see that vision come to pass.