God doesn’t need you| freedom in ministry

Posted on February 23, 2012 by


Being in ministry is a very empowering calling; it should also be the most humbling thing you do.

It’s empowering because we are working for people’s salvation. We are continuing the work of Christ and the Apostles. We see people’s lives transformed, we see the Kingdom of God realized in every relationship and in every act of service and justice. And we get to be involved. How awesome is that.

The bible says that those who aspire to the office of overseer desire a noble task; that those overseers who labor in teaching and preaching are worthy of Double honor; that we are held to a higher standard. Our calling carries with it a great weight of responsibility and that can, like a weird inverse of Spiderman, make us think that we have great power.

But the truth is I’m not special, neither are you. In fact the pattern we see in scripture of who God chooses to do His work should give us cause to be a little concerned that we are in fact quite unqualified to do what He has called us to.

  • King David  – Lusted after a woman, used his power to rape her, then killed her husband
  • King Solomon – Ignored God’s laws about amassing horses, sending people back to Egypt, and  marriage eventually leading the people into idolatry,
  • Abraham – lied about his marriage to Sarah and tried to marry her off to pharaoh TWICE to save his own skin.
  • Moses – had a speech problem, doubted God’s plans and never entered the promised land
  • Peter – Consistently put his foot in his mouth, began to act like a judaiser and was put in his      place by Paul.
  • Paul – was a persecutor and murderer of Christians, didn’t speak well, had a “thorn” that plagued him.


And these are some of the Giants of the faith. God did amazing things through them.  But here is the key to that last sentence; GOD did amazing things through them.  God chose each of them, God empowered them, and God was faithful to His promises even when they failed.

The verse that I base this whole spiel on is 1 Cor. 1:26-31

[26] For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

[27] But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; [28] God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, [29] so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. [30] And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, [31] so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

As a worship leader the Luke 19:40, where Jesus says that if you silence the people the rocks will cry out, is a reminder that if Christ wanted He could use a rock to do my job. But in His grace and mercy He lets me participate in what He is doing.


We need to remember, we have no right to do what we do it’s a privilege and an honor. We have nothing to bring to God that He needs. God builds the church not us. When something goes well we should praise God that He is moving. When something goes bad, we need look at ourselves and see if we are getting in the way through pride, secret sin, selfish motives, and if not then it’s still on God. Our view is limited in scope and shortsighted so what we see as a failure may be just the thing that lets a searching soul know that the church is full of real people who make mistakes and that they will be accepted here.

My goal in talking about this is threefold.  I want this to empower and lift up those who are struggling in ministry and feel ill-equipped or stifled in their position. I also want to quell any sense of self-sufficiency in ministry, when we begin to boast in anything except the grace of God we are heading for a world of trouble. Finally I want to push us all towards freedom that can only be found by placing our value and identity in Christ. If we truly place our identity in Christ, than success will be joyful but not self serving or all-consuming, and failures won’t crush our spirits. We sinful broken people are servants of the most high God, how amazing is that?

Posted in: Praxis, Theology