I remember being at a camp meeting when I was about 13 years old and hearing a female preacher up front speaking for the first time. She spoke very well; she was polished and talented. I honestly was shocked. Not because she was a good speaker, but because for the first time I was listening to a woman — who was an actual employed pastor — speak in front of a large audience.
Since I was 11, I felt the Lord calling my heart into ministry. I didn't know exactly what that meant at the time, but I knew it meant speaking in front of people about Him and His love for humanity. My parents were super supportive of my desires, even though they didn't know exactly what I would end up doing. They worked to help me meet people who were okay with female pastors and even took me to a church plant near our home where a woman was the associate pastor.
I was blessed to be around people who loved and supported me as I followed the calling into pastoral ministry. I was blessed to attend Walla Walla University and go through the theology program where the professors were super supportive of women in ministry and instrumental in helping me develop the skills needed to proceed into pastoral ministry.
As I have grown, matured and come to deeper understand the call into pastoral work, I have become more and more convicted that ministry for Christ isn’t just a job. It goes deeper than that. It is beyond just making money or clocking into work. It’s a vocation.
A vocation is more than just a job you do for money. It's something you feel a deep need and desire to do — a calling if you like. The call to pastoral ministry is really a vocation. It's a life-long, life-changing commitment to the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ no matter what comes your way — a following of the call you have felt in your life to work specially for God in the area of pastoral ministry.
I strongly believe the vocation of pastoral ministry is not something that is restrictive. Both men and women can be called into ministry and accept this vocation in their lives. Both men and women have and continue to feel the call of the Holy Spirit in their lives, to forsake much for the cause of Christ.
Scripture is our guide as we interact with God. As we study and pray, we learn more and more about the character of God and His love for all humanity. It is in Scripture that we are told God will use anyone who is willing to share His message.
The book of Acts tells us that after Jesus’ ascension, all His followers got together to select a new person to take Judas Iscariot’s place. Acts 1:14 says, “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.” Both men and women, the apostles and others, were together praying and asking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
When the Holy Spirit comes down in tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost, we are told in Acts 2:1 that they all were together in the upper room. All those who were followers of Jesus and had just a few days earlier witnessed His ascension were gathered in that upper room. There were older men, young men and women. Anyone who had a thriving relationship with Jesus was present that day, and anyone who was there that day was anointed with the Holy Spirit.
After the Holy Spirit had fallen on the followers of Christ, Peter stood up to speak. Peter made it even clearer that God has used and will use both men and women, young and old, to spread His message. He quoted Joel 2:28, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.”
If you are feeling the call of God in your life, whether to be a pastor or a dedicated follower of Him or even a re-dedicated follower of His. I want to encourage you to remember that God can use you. God wants to use you. He wants to build a relationship with you and help you to share His love with the world around you.
You have been given a unique opportunity. No matter if you are young or old, male or female, you can share with those around you the love you have for God and the unending, saving love that God has for them.
As Christians, we are called to make our relationship with God a vocation. Whether you are a pastor or not, you can make sharing Jesus part of your daily life and let that become part of who you are.
If you are a pastor doing ministry on a daily basis, I want to challenge you to remember that God will use people to share His message. He wants to use you, but He is also capable of using anyone who will listen and follow Him. Don’t become prideful and lose sight of our great calling to share Jesus with others. Let us be a part of God’s great work and remember that He calls all people to love and share Him.
If you are not a pastor, I would challenge you to make your relationship with God a thriving one. Then when you are out working your daily job, your true vocation as a witness for God will be evident to all. You are capable of reaching people in your daily life and work that no one else can. So, I challenge you to let your light shine.
God wants to use each one of us as we live life here on earth. He will use all those who are willing to share their love for Him to this world. He desires to use you today!