Lecture II - The Call to the Ministry
While Charles Spurgeon affirmed that all believers are called to communicate the gospel, there is a special calling upon those who teach and "bear rule" in the church and supported by the church. Here are a few of Spurgeon's thoughts regarding the signs of God's special calling:
- an intense, all absorbing desire for the work. "Do not enter the ministry if you can help it."
- an aptitude to teach. Including attributes such as: sound judgement, solid experience, gentle manners, a loving spirit, firmness, courage, tenderness and sympathy
- the fruit of evangelism
- the call from the local church. Not necessarily an infalliable sign of God's will, but a necessary ingredient.
"That hundreds have missed their way and stumbled against a pulpit is sorrowfully evident from the fruitless ministries and decaying churches which surround us."
According to Spurgeon, these are some reasons why he felt some men were not called to "full-time, Christian, pastoral ministry":
- overambition to shine among men
- lack of sufficient intelligence
- lack of endurance or experience
- zealousness without substance
- aspiring to the ministry for lack of any direction
- physical deficiencies such as speech impediment
- instability of theological convictions
- ability to weather the storms of the ministry with grace
By far, one of the most, no nonsense, common sensical, realist and "briefest" counsel regarding "the call to ministry." Another wise and good resource would be Dave Harvey's (Sovereign Grace Ministries) "Am I Called? Discerning the Summons to Ministry" (the original article has now been replaced by a workshop with outlines and a different title).