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The Lure of Full Time Ministry

I'm just reflecting on something that used to be so alluring to me in the past: the desire to get into full-time ministry.

When I first became a "proper" Christian in the late nineties, there was always this feeling that the Senior Pastor had all the answers - because he seemed so wise, popular and even performed miracles. The idea was that life for most Christians really sucked: like we were these innocent little lambs in this harsh world that seemed to difficult and disappointing for us. There was always this sense that the only way for you to find satisfaction as a Christian, because you were ever-so spiritual, was to become a pastor.

I remember listening, or reading, wide-eyed at these beguiling stories of ministers getting their needs met in some spectacular fashion. The favourite seemed to be a minister having some "need", which was always full-time ministry related (such as a new youth ministry building), praying about it, then someone in the congregation giving them an envelope with the exact amount in it. It seemed to me that as soon as a Christian got his act together and was no longer a moron - God would immediately whisk him or her away from their mundane 9-to-5 existence - into an exciting life in the service of God (as if anything else is not serving God).

I suppose my desire to get into ministry grew more intense when I started attending a popular mega-church in 2005. There was something captivating about that charismatic speaker bounding on stage, that I wanted to re-create in my own life. They could command the crowd's devotion and obedience: they could tell the crowd when to laugh, sing, sit-up, sit-down or even turn to your neighbour and say...whatever. It's great that I can now watch the Northpoint - Sunday's Coming - Movie Trailer and laugh at what I used to take so seriously.

It's only now after years of frustration that I can now see the futility of it all. I can see how flawed that whole system is. It's only after hearing the Into the Wild and The God Journey podcasts that I'm finally awake to what was really happening. Wayne Jacobsen especially has been really expressing in recent podcasts, just how silly it all is as well as revealing the wrong motives and desire for attention that is behind it all. As I have now begun to take an honest look at my own desires, I can see that I craved approval, attention, position, power and wealth.

Another good MP3 series on this subject is "Safe Harbor Conference 2008" on Bertie Brits' website I was amazed at the honesty of Allen Speegle in this message as he related his own insecurities and wrong motives for becoming a minister and how grace has changed all of that.

The Divine Nature | TNB