To What Ministry Are You Called?

Are you called to the ministry?  What does that mean? (For factors to assist you in determining if you are called,  All Christians are called to minister and you could say all are called to a ministry.  As far as I can tell, no one is called to simply sit on a pew in a church then check the box for attendance and call it a day-or a week.  To say that some are “more called” than others is not quite right, but there is a calling that God has for some that is, let’s say, more pronounced.

Paul’s call to that of apostle was quite dramatic, yet others receive a call that is more subtle but no less certain. This article will examine ministries to which you may be called, in order to help you find your way.

The first step to finding your calling or determining your ministry is understanding ministries or the offices to which God calls us.  Paul writes “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith…”  Ephesians 4:11, 12.  These are commonly called the 5-fold ministry.  The purpose of these ministries is to equip the saints for the work, to build us all up until we attain unity of the faith.  Well, a unity of the faith certainly has not been attained as of yet, so, it would be fair to say these ministries or offices still exist.  That also helps us define these offices because while there is a general consensus of definitions, orthodox Christianity is not in unity about it.

Many claim that the office of apostle and prophet no longer exist.  The term apostle is sometimes used only in reference to the original eleven of Jesus’ disciples and Paul, although, the Bible refers to Timothy, James, the half-brother of Jesus, and Matthias as apostles, as well as Junia , a woman.  (The interpretation of the Greek in Romans 16:7 as Junia as a woman is often argued, and this article does not have sufficient room to discuss it.)  The point is that apostle refers to a larger group than the original twelve.

What is an apostle?  The word apostle comes from the Greek verb, Ἀποστελῶ, meaning to send forth.  The apostle, then, is the one sent forth. [1]  Josephus used the word to denote a “group sent on a mission” focusing more on the sender of the group than on the one who was sent. [2]  Jesus used the term for the twelve and they all went to other countries preaching the gospel and forming groups of Christian followers.  Therefore, it is in keeping with the original intent to use the term apostle for those who are missionaries, specifically and more narrowly, missionaries who are church planters.  More about missionaries later.

Why is understanding the term, apostle, important?  Well, it is actually a clue to the next term, prophet, and the fact that the office of prophet still exists to this day.  In understanding that there is no great mystery involved in the term, apostle, and that it simply means “sent ones” we can determine that apostles still exist.  Therefore, if apostles still exist, so must prophets.  Why would we only eliminate the term prophets?

Many point to 1 Corinthians 13:8 “As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away” as Biblical evidence that prophecies, and therefore, the implication is that prophets, have ceased.  But that ceasing occurs when that which is perfect has come.  What is that which is perfect?  Some say it is the finished canonization of the Bible, however, the paragraph in its context is eschatological, pointing to the end times and the ultimate coming of Jesus and redemption of man.  The time is referenced in verse twelve, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”  The “then” of this passage is the time we stand face to face with Jesus.  While there are more arguments that can be made, this argument is only listed for those who believe their calling may be that of a prophet.  Yes, this office is still available.

That said, we must come into an understanding as to what is a prophet?   A prophet, based on the Old Testament and New Testament, is someone who speaks on behalf of God and exhorts and directs the body of Christ, and they do so under the unction or moving of the Holy Spirit.  Their prophecies may or may not involve the future (See Acts 21:10).  While that may sound a little wild, their words are to be judged by others (1 Cor 14:29), they must line up with the written word (2 Pet. 1:19) and their prophecies are subject to the prophet (1 Cor 14:32).  Finally, a prophet, like an apostle, may be a male or female. [3]

These are but two of the specific callings mentioned in the Bible amidst the calling that is for all of us to go and make disciples (Matt. 28:19).   To be sure all callings are used to help the body and to win the world.  That is the point of this article and should be the point of every believer.  We are motivated by our love for God to show love to our neighbor and to extend salvation and redemption to everyone as ambassadors of Christ.

We will continue on the list in the next article, but there is a question that needs to be asked?  Is the list of offices that God gave and all inclusive list? And, where does the term missionary fit in?  Is there an office that is more important than another?  We will take up these questions and more next article.


[2] Ibid. quoting Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews.  17, 11, 1.


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2 comments on “To What Ministry Are You Called?
  1. Pingback: Calling: A Missionary and His Work | Mission Calling

  2. I was so moved by your ministry that i have aopetdd a little girl n i know that with Gods help i will be able to make a small difference in her life. I will continue praying for you and the children there. May God continue to bless you all.

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