Investing in Ministry
It was April 1991. I was finishing up my senior year of college when the recruiter for the Alliance came to our college to do accreditation interviews. I signed up to begin the approval and appointment process as a minister of the Gospel. But, wasn’t I already a minister? Wasn’t I already leading a small group and investing in the youth every Sunday night? Wasn’t I discipling my friends, coworkers, and youth?
I was already a minister of the Gospel, but this brought a new level of investment to the call that I was already living out. I knew that it was important for me to go through an approval process, (some call this accreditation), as well as an appointment process, (some call this licensing), to be fully invested as a minister of the Gospel. It wasn’t until November 1991 that I received my first official appointment as an approved minister of the Gospel – Jr. High Youth Director of Risen King Community Church.
Nothing really changed, except I received a card in the mail that labeled me an “Official Worker of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.” My ministry did not become more significant. I did not start getting paid. I did not get an increase in responsibility or privileges. I was just appointed as an approved minister of the Gospel – and this was important.
This appointment meant that not only was I approved to be called by a church body, but a church body had seen God’s call upon my life and laid hands on me as a minister to their community of faith. This appointment also started me on the journey toward affirmation as a minister of the Gospel, (some call this ordination). For the next 5 years I served as a youth pastor, associate pastor, and then became a senior pastor shortly before receiving my affirmation as a minister of the Gospel in October 1996.
Since then, I believe that I have been fully invested in ministry in and through the local church. I have served with and without pay. I have not run from the local church when things were difficult. I have served two local churches since my affirmation, and I have invested my life to the multiplication of communities of faith. I am deeply convinced that the local church is the primary agent of the Kingdom of God and that Christ loves His Church as His Bride. I am convinced that any minister should have the same investment and passion to and for the local church. Without which, I question their approval, appointment, and find it difficult to affirm such a minister in their calling.
Over the years I have served the church by ministering to the youth, children, seniors, sick, wounded, hurting, married, singles, parents, orphans, poor, wealthy, men, women, and even the lost. My primary objective has always been to create a community where individuals and families can learn to hear the voice of God and minister to one another and the world. A minister of the Gospel cannot view themselves as an island or irreplaceable; to my point, to be effective, every minister must know the Scripture, know how to train up others in the Word, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. The approval, appointment, and affirmation process for a minister is helpful, challenging, convicting, and inspiring. Every church deserves to have ministers who are committed to the process of discipleship – both for themselves and others.
Brian and Tamra McLellan have been ministering to our youth for the past 3 years as our appointed youth directors. During this time, they have loved the kids well and been faithful to serve our kids. We are so grateful to their commitment to serve the youth of our local church community as they trained them to be disciples of Jesus. However, they have concluded that it is time to step back from this ministry and are sincerely hoping that we as a church community can help push this important ministry forward.
Your elders are deeply committed to ministering to our youth (ages 12-25). We recognize that youth are not the future church, but this is a segment of our church body that has unique and challenging ministry points. These young people are growing into adulthood, and we hope to provide a place of acceptance and belonging in order that each one can find their place in the body of Christ. We hope that their identity can be found in Christ, and that they find belonging and acceptance in His Church.
To this end, we are searching for an approved minister of the Gospel who is willing to undergo the process of appointment and affirmation as one who is deeply invested in the ministry of the local church. We are looking for a man or woman who is called to give their life to the local church as the primary agent of the Kingdom of God. We need someone who is capable of rightly handling the Word of God in order to train up our youth, parents, emerging adults, and tweeners in the ways of the Lord. We want them to be able to mobilize an army of ministers to serve the youth of our community and city.
We have a unique opportunity, and I believe a mandate, to reach the youth of Palmer and Community Prep High Schools. One could argue that we are situated on the Palmer campus and just 2 blocks from the Community Prep campus. We have students from both schools sitting on our steps every day during school hours. Some days it is the cowboy group, then the skaters, then the druggies, then the loners, then the chess club, but NEVER all at the same time! Well, maybe at the same time, but not all together!
The diagonal parking lot continues to be a source of contention in our neighborhood. Palmer feels like the neighbors should take more responsibility, Community Prep is blamed for the drugs, the neighbors blame the schools, and the city would like everyone to work together. We need a minister to step into this craziness and serve as an advocate for the youth, the neighbors, the city, and the schools and point them all to Jesus as the One who loves them all – a minister who understands the ministry of reconciliation as a mandate for the church.
Are you committed to seeing the youth raised up to serve as ministers of the Gospel? Do you see the value of finding that person to come alongside our youth as a shepherd to disciple and empower them? Do you sense the need to support this important ministry of the church? Are you invested in the ministry of the local church? How are you going to support this important ministry to 12-25 year-olds?
We need to raise about $2000 more per month to make certain that this important ministry happens. The danger to giving the church community a dollar amount is that we could begin to think that we pay someone for that, so I don’t need to do anything. However, the opposite needs to be true. We need a minister who can empower an army of ministers of reconciliation. We need funding, but we also need workers. To demonstrate this, the elders are committed to serving our youth by being with them throughout the summer – and beyond. We are committed to discipling our youth through two Compass Groups and one on two/three mentorship. We will model this and be inviting you to join us in our mission to connect every youth to five spiritual mentors.
How will you invest in the ministry of the Gospel? How are you serving in a ministry of reconciliation? Do you believe that youth are the church – or some future version of the church? Do you believe that the local church is the primary agent of the Kingdom of God? If money was no object, what ministry would happen through HarvestDowntown? Would that ministry include or exclude children, youth, and others?