Ms. Joyce Aryee
“When they had finished eating, Jesus said Simon Peter, Simon son of Jonah, do you truly love me more than these?” Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”…………………………….” – John 21:15-25.
Challenge Enterprises of Ghana organized a National Pastors’ and Christian Leaders Conference 2010 themed “HOLDING FORTH THE BANNER OF MINISTERIAL INTEGRITY” in Accra and Kumasi from 30th August – 3rd September 2010 and 6th – 10th September, 2010 respectively. The speakers included Dr. Charles C. Bing – Grace Life Ministries, USA, Bro. Gbile Akanni – Living Seed Ministries, Nigeria, Most Rev. Dr. Aboagye Mensah – Former Presiding Bishop, the Methodist Church, Ghana. In the next couple of weeks, we will be publishing the notes of the conference. We trust they will be a blessing to you. Enjoy.
Integrity In Ministerial Calling By Dr. Charles C. Bing – Founder and Director of Gracelife Ministries, USA.
You are not called because you deserve it.
I have been asked to address the topic of “Integrity in Ministerial Responsibilities.” Ministry is an awesome privilege, and as with any privilege, it carries with it an awesome responsibility. In Integrity is what insures that we are responsible with the privilege we have been given.
Before we go any further, we must define Integrity. The word comes from the same word as integer or integral. It means “whole, undivided, unified, consistent.” When we talk about integrity in ministry, we are talking about the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” In other words, integrity means we are what we say we are, we do what we say we will do, and we live according to the calling God has given us. We are consistent.
When someone asks me if I am “Rev. Bing” I answer, “Sometimes!” I am not always as reverent as a reverend should be! I am glad they don’t ask me if I am “Right Reverend” because I am sometimes as wrong reverend. I am joking here, but if we are going to live up to the title “Reverend” then we must be reverent in our words and conduct. If we are called pastor, which means “shepherd,” then we must conduct ourselves in a manner consistent with our “Chief Shepherd,” The Lord Jesus Christ – 1 Peter 5:1-5.
The whole subject of God’s “calling” is a topic that deserves more time than I have. We usually use the term “call” to refer to God directing us into vocational ministry. Integrity must begin with our concept of God’s call. We must be sure we are not “self-called” or self “anointed.” I sometimes meet people in ministry who I think were probably called to be sales men or entertainers. I believe they have missed Gods call.
Whatever your view is of how God calls un into ministry, you should be sure to have more verification than a voice or a vision or a feeling inside. You should have a first Biblical basis. Then you should have the proper gifting. Last but not the least, you should have the confirmation of others in authority. When someone asks me if I think he should go into ministry full time, I say “Only if you could not be happy doing anything else!” Ministry can be a nightmare if we are not called to it by God.
But as I said, I don’t have time to talk about how God calls us. I will assume that you are in ministry because you recognized God’s call on your life and have committed yourself to the course.
One thing we learn from Peter, who is the subject of our Bible passage in John 21, is that God does not call us because we deserve it.
We see God’s hand on Peter’s life from the very beginning. When his brother, Andrew, brought him to the Messiah, Jesus told him, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Caphas” which the Bible tells us means “A Stone” – John 1:42. Jesus obviously had plans for his life. He later invited Peter and Andrew to follow Him and become fishers of men – Mark 1:17; Matthew 4:29.
While Peter had his virtues like leadership and boldness, he also had his vices like pride and prayerlessness. Those vices led him into a big failure in which he denied the Lord Jesus three times in one night. The “Stone” turned to sand. We cannot say that Peter deserved to be in ministry or earned the privilege the privilege. But the Lord never took His hand off of Peter. Jesus even predicted Peter’s failures as He also predicted his restoration – Luke 22:31. Peter had chaff that needed to be sifted out.
This is the wonder of God’s calling on us, because like Peter, we all have chaff that needs sifting. We all have feet that need to be washed. None of us is perfect. We are all made of sand and clay. Yet God in His goodness and mercy chooses to use us to accomplish His purposes.
We could even say that in some sense our failures are our greatest qualifications for our calling. One Christian leader said, “God cannot use a man greatly until he hurts him deeply.” Our failures keep us from the poison of pride that will pollute our ministry and the people around us. When we minister from weakness and humility we must look to God for sufficiency in everything. In and of ourselves we are sufficient for nothing of any enduring value.
That is what I mean when I say that God does not call us because we deserve it. God calls us by His grace. Grace means “undeserved favor.” The ministry is God’s gift to flawed people who can still bring glory to God if they are willing to humble themselves and walk by faith.
Peter is the prime example of God’s gracious calling because when he is commissioned by the Lord in John 21, he is a man shaken by failure. He is so shaken that he has gone back to the only thing he knew he could do well – fishing. But he could not even do that well on this occasion, because after a long night of catching no fish, the Lord directed Peter to cast his net on the right side of the boat and he caught so many fishes he could not draw the net to shore.
After the Lord got Peter’s attention in this manner, He called him out of failure and into ministry. He did this with three questions and three directives, which we will now examine.
I. You are called to love God first.
II. You are called to lovingly serve God’s people.
III. You are called to your own unique ministry.
a. Each person a unique cross to bear.
b. Each person has a unique destiny.
c. Each person has a unique personality.
d. Each person has a unique gifts.
We should each learn that God’s calling is according to our personality and our gifting. He would not call us to do something that we are not equipped to do. People sometimes ask how they can know what spiritual gift they have. I suggest for things:
1. Be active in service. You must give God a chance to manifest your gift as you seek to edify the body of Christ. A moving automobile is easier to direct than one sitting still.
2. Do what you enjoy. God would not gift you to do something that makes you miserable. If you are gifted to teach, you will love teaching.
3. Look for God’s blessing. If God has gifted you to do something, you can expect to see good results and God’s blessing. If you are gifted as a leader, you will have followers. if you are gifted in exhortation, your people will know what to do and be motivated to do it.
4. Ask someone who knows you well. Your wife, husband, pastor, or friend can usually easily identify your gift. They have observed you in ministry and in relationships. Trust their judgment.
Integrity in your ministry calling means that you are consistent with God’s will for you. He wants you to love Him above all others, then, He wants you to love His people He has entrusted to your care. Integrity to your ministry calling means that you will serve God in your own unique way. You will carry your own cross of suffering for Him, you will accept your own identity, and you will serve according to your true personality and gifts.
As with Peter, those who have been called and are following will be continually challenged to follow the Lord. Your journey is unique and it is never finished.
12th November 2010
INVITATION TO PRAYER RALLY
We are pleased to invite you to our prayer rally under the theme “Make Room In Your Heart for Jesus.” The speaker is the Very Rev. M. A. Bossman, the General Director – Board of Ministries, the Methodist Church Ghana.
Other details of the programme are:
Date: Saturday – November 20, 2010
Venue: Offices of Salt and Light Ministries, Abelemkpe near Sollatek
Song Ministration: The Harmonious Chorale
Bring your friends and family. Together let’s raise our voices in hymns and prayer. Speaker: Very Rev. M. A. Bossman. Salt and Light Ministries