I was discussing the calling of God into the ministry with a young man the other day. He is wrestling with this somewhat nebulous issue in his own heart. How do I know if I’m called into the music ministry? You may be struggling with that same question or know of someone who is. Here are some things to think about:
Is there such a thing? In Eph. 4:11 is says that God “gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ”. There is no specificity as to an evangelist as being a music evangelist. Nor is there anything listed as a music pastor. The issue is not whether someone is called into the music ministry but whether they are called into the ministry. That doesn’t mean that the called individual won’t have a primary role in church music but there is a difference. I understand that we see in the Old Testament musicians set apart and dedicated specifically to church music. But they were first and foremost priests. There is a difference between a Music Pastor and a Pastor who does Music.
With that being said, my role here at GLC is much more than just doing music. I’m also involved in teaching, hospital visits, counseling, media, shepherding, and the proverbial “much, much more”. If I was only called into the “music” ministry I would balk at the notion of doing anything else.
Is there anything else? If a young (or not-so-young) man is called into the ministry, the calling pursues him, not the other way around. There won’t be anything else he can become. He will have to be involved in pastoring of one form or another. He will do it for free if he has to. Many times I’ve heard the standard litmus test given to a prospective minister: “If there’s anything else you CAN do, do it.” Why do they say that? Because they know if a man is truly called, he won’t be able to do anything else.
Is there any confirmation? I’ve never seen a man called into the ministry—I mean truly called into it—that didn’t have that calling first recognized by his spiritual authorities (parents, pastors, teachers, etc.). If there is no one in your life pushing you or asking you about the ministry, then you might want to rethink it. Dave Harvey has some wonderful things that structure and organize this process in his book “Rescuing Ambition” that should be applied in every church. To share a snippet of my own story, I surrendered to the call of the ministry while in a discussion with my pastor who lovingly challenged me in that regard. He saw it before I did.
How can we truly know if someone is called to be a Minister? There’s much that is subjective. But there are also objective truths that must be applied. If you are considering that question today, please ask not “Am I called into the Music Ministry?” but “Am I called into the Ministry?”