For those of us who are ministers, we can all probably remember the first time we felt the yearning to fulfill a life of ministry. It is a desire inside of us that won’t let us rest. It is a fire that continues to burn within us, and continues to build and build as if we are about to burst. It grows stronger and stronger each day. Then one day, we sit down and decide, “God I will stop fighting this. I will stop living in fear. I will accept your call.” We can probably remember the day when we decided to walk in God’s calling for our lives. I still remember mine. I also remember the fear that came inside of me as well.
Usually our fears tie into the expectations that we think will come with the life of ministry. We wonder if we will truly be able to fulfill them. We look at our pastor and leaders in our church and community. We see the expectations on them from others, and we think about all the responsibilities they have as a shepherd of God’s sheep. We conclude, “There is no way I can do all of that God. There is no way I can be a person of leadership in that capacity. Well, we are absolutely right. We can never be that person we are seeing. Why? Because their calling is not ours. God has a specific calling for our lives and a plan made just for us.
Being fearful of the call to ministry takes many forms, but there are ways to combat the fears so that we don’t let fears stop us from what God has called us to do!
Break All Comparisons.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”—Jeremiah 1:5
Don’t look at another person’s plans or journeys and compare. Your journey will be different. Your calling will be different. Your timetable may be different as well. God has an appointed message and ministry in us all and God doesn’t need us all doing the same things. God made you unique and needs you to fulfill your unique calling. When you begin to compare your calling to that of others, you open the door to envy and you belittle your own calling. Your calling has a specific purpose, and the world has a need for what you will do. Don’t forsake your calling trying to be like others
Don’t Let Your Gender, Age, Race, or Marital Status Stop You.
“Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”— Romans 15:7
As a single, African-American woman, I have found it tempting to shy away from the life of ministry, because single, African-American women in leadership ministry roles are rare. Most women ministers in my world are pastor’s wives, or they serve in administrative roles, children-related positions, or events coordination. Women in pastoral positions are rare. Not only is this lack of female presence true in African-American community, but it is true for all races of women and for all ages and all marital statuses.
Don’t let your diversity stop you! If you fall into any of the minority categories in the pastoral field, your uniqueness should be one thing that actually pushes you to fulfill your calling! It is a gap that needs to be filled. Don’t let the fact that there are few like you put you in fear, but let it push you to break the mold and minister. There is someone out there looking to be encouraged by someone just like you!
Don’t Let the Fear of Perfection Stop You.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”—Romans 3: 23-24
Being in any leadership role comes with the responsibility of being a light to others. Although God has called us all to be a light to the world, there is a different expectation that seems to arise when you are placed in a ministry leadership position. Don’t let this put you in fear of leading in ministry. We all have fallen short. None of us our perfect. Think about the major ministry leaders in the world today. Have there not been many who have fallen in the walk of Christ? We are not perfect, but we are all striving to be made perfect in Christ. So know that you are going to make mistakes. Know that you are going to have moment of struggles, trials, and temptations. That is okay. Remember, there is no temptation that isn’t common to humanity that has not been overcome with God. God is forever faithful and will provide a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Chloe M. Gooden is an author, blogger, and vlogger. Her passion is to encourage others in the areas of faith, celibacy, sexual temptation, dating, and relationships. She blogs at www.chloemgooden.com.