Celebrating 76 Years Of Ministry
To God Be The Glory
Each Sunday there is a children's program for children K through 5th grade. It is from 6 to 7 PM.
Senior's Exercise Class on Wednesdays at 10:30 AM. For men and women of all ages. Handicapped accessible.
Each Saturday - Men's Bible Study at 9:00 AM
Third Saturday of each month at 10:00 AM - The Food Pantry is open to all who are in need.
Fourth Saturday of each month at 10:00 AM - Our Clothes Closet is open to the community.
A God-Called Ministry
I remember when I was going through the ordination process in Ohio. The ministers on the credentials committee asked me a lot of questions. But one older minister only asked me one question. He asked, “Young man, have you been called by God?” That’s all that mattered to him. In the Church of God we believe in a God-called ministry. What I mean by this is that we believe that it is God who calls and equips ministers of the gospel. You don’t just become a minister because it seems like an enjoyable or lucrative profession. By the way, if you’re in it for the money, you'd probably be better off looking for another profession. We don’t choose to go into the ministry; God chooses us (see John 15.16). A divine call is needed to go into the ministry.
Does the Bible teach being called to ministry? To be a prophet you had to be called by God (see Jer 1.4-5). To be an apostle you had to be called and chosen by Christ (see Mark 1.16-18; Rom 1.1; Gal 1.1, 15-16). It seems that the same would be true of those who preach the gospel. We see God’s sovereign call in that it is he who gifts them for ministry. We don’t determine which gifts we have; God decides that (see 1 Cor 12.11, 18). Christ is the head of the church, and so it is he who gifts and appoints ministers in the church (see Eph 1.22-23; 4.11). Concerning the elders in Ephesus, Paul says that it was the Holy Spirit that made them overseers (see Acts 20.28). This speaks of a divine call. This terminology is used of preachers of the gospel. Romans 10.15 says, “How can anyone preach unless they are sent?” To preach you must be sent by God. You must be called.
How do you know if you are divinely called to ministry? I struggled with this when I first started preaching. I began preaching when I was 18 years old. I heard ministers talk about their call and how they ran from the call for a while until God finally got a hold of them. Yet, I never ran from the call. That made me think that maybe I wasn’t really called. But then it dawned on me that you don’t have to run from the call and that no two people’s callings are exactly alike. Here’s how you can know if you’re called by God to preach the gospel. First, you will be divinely gifted to do ministry. That is, you will be able to preach. One man thought he was called, but he couldn’t preach. In explaining his call, he said he saw a sign in the heavens that read GPC. He said it meant, “Go preach Christ.” A wise Christian said, “Maybe it just meant, ‘Go plow corn.’” Second, there will be fruit. There will be results. God will bless your ministry. In his first sermon when he was still struggling with whether or not he was called to preach, Dale Oldham prayed that God would give him proof by letting someone get saved. That night in Camargo, Kentucky six people were saved. He never doubted his call again. Third, you will have an inner urge or passion. Paul said, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel” (see 1 Cor 9.16). Jeremiah spoke of a burning in his bones so that he could not hold the word in; he had to preach (see Jer 20.9). Fourth, there will be open doors to preach. If God has called you to ministry, he will open doors for you to fulfill your calling. From the beginning of my ministry, I have never had to force a door open. I have simply prayed, “Open the door,” and God has continued to open doors for ministry. While in college, I preached in many different churches. I never asked to preach in these churches. God opened the door. Then he opened a door for me to go to the Towne Blvd. Church of God in Middletown, Ohio, and then to come here to Larchmont. I believe God has called me because he has opened the doors. Last, there will be confirmation. Others will recognize the call. When I first started preaching, I had older ministers say that God’s hand was upon me. That helped me realize that I had been called by God. This brings up the issue of ordination.
How does ordination fit into God’s calling? In the Church of God we believe in ordination. We lay hands on ministers called by God and consecrate them to the Lord’s service. I was ordained in Lima, Ohio in 1997. It was a special time in my life. However, we don’t believe that we ourselves call ministers or that we impart any spiritual gift to them. God calls people to ministry, and then in ordination we simply acknowledge publicly that call. We lay hands on ministers to show our support, to pray for God’s blessing, and to acknowledge that they are chosen by the Lord. Ordination doesn’t make a person called; it simply recognizes the divine call and publicly acknowledges it (see Acts 13.1-3; 1 Tim 4.13-14). You can be divinely called and not yet ordained, and you can be ordained by men but not called by God. If I had to choose between the two, I would much rather be called by God.
For more devotions by Pastor Mark, visit his blog at drmarkjackson.wordpress.com.