Some thoughts on the call to the Ministry

Quite early in my ministry, about 1958, an experienced evangelical Anglican minister said to me, “It takes five years to change a church.” I have never forgotten that and, by and large, have found it to be true. Recently I heard a similar saying, which looks at this idea of “five years” from a different angle. Here it is: “After five years the church becomes what the minister is.” In other words, after five years the minister is responsible for the state of the church. Two similar viewpoints from totally different people and periods of time. Is it true? If the minister is an effective preacher and teacher it surely is true. But if he is not truly called of God, no matter how sincere, if he has no really effective ministry, he will be unable to cause the church to move in the right direction, though of course the church may deteriorate under his ministry.
One of our grandsons, now an adult, when he was four or five, saw a funny action on TV advert and blurted out, “Me could do that.” I suspect that some young men enter the ministry with that kind of attitude. They see an effective ministry and a prospering church and think to themselves, “I could do that; it looks easy.” What is perhaps even worse, some may say, “I could do better than that.” Then perhaps after several years of frustration and failure, they have to realize that it is not so easy, or perhaps they were never really called in the first place. For it is ever true that when God calls He enables and equips. No amount of books read or conferences attended can make up for the absence of a genuine call from God or the lack of ability and gifting to teach and preach.
The call comes in various ways; sometimes it comes suddenly, sometimes gradually, but sooner or later the conviction is held that God wants this man to be a minister. But that is not enough. There are two other factors. There must be some fruit or effectiveness in ministry. The other factor is that sooner or later the church will recognize the calling and approve of his call. Able men are always in demand. May God send more at this needy time.
Why is the nation and the church in the present state in Britain? Two factors have had a devastating effect over the last 150 years. One is the invasion of German Higher-critical Biblical studies. This has undermined confidence in the Scriptures and so weakened not only the ministry but also education and the general attitude of the population. The other factor is Darwinism, or the theory of macro-evolution. Even though there is no proof of this at all, nevertheless it is now accepted as unassailable fact. The result is that society in general sees no need of God, which is just what Charles Darwin intended. We need men who will stand against both of these demonic errors; men who will stand for the inspiration, infallibility and inerrancy of the Word of God, and men who will stand against naturalism and uphold the biblical truth of creation. The idea that this beautiful world and this intricate cosmos came about by chance is absolutely ludicrous. Only men blinded by Satan could hold such nonsense.


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