Ordination Questions: Finding God's Calling

Recently I’ve been heavily involved with testing and ordaining several ministers. It has been a great blessing in my life that I am now someone to invite to these functions. I am usually the quack that shows up with several pages of questions (47 to be exact). Whereas, most of the men in the room have few if any questions prepared ahead of time. For the next few blog posts, i’d like to walk through a few of my 47 questions and give my opinion on the answers as I see it from the biblical text.


I love Ephesians 4:11 when Paul states, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teacher, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.

It should be understood that ALL believers have a calling from the Lord which fulfills the “work of the ministry.” Some of us are called to teach, preach, counsel, etc as seen in “typical ministries.” Others of us are called to lawyer, business, firefight, police etc as seen in “parishioner ministries.” What is clear from the text of Ephesians 4:11 is that we are called to a SPECIFIC ministry.

I do not approve of the historic blanket ordination for ministry. We have ordained men into “the Gospel ministry” for decades, and churches have suffered due to this. We should guide men and women to determine exactly what God has gifted, and called them to accomplish for the sake of the Gospel. Not everyone is a preacher, and not everyone is a counselor, but everyone has a specific calling.


My training pastor, Dr. Landon Dowden, told me a few great points that I’d like to re-hash here as I do in every ordination council, and every counseling session with a parishioner about big decisions.

  1. Have you felt a Spiritual urge to do something that you are not qualified to accomplish? It may require great financial, emotional, and spiritual strength that you do not have on your own.

Most of our heroes of the faith were not qualified to answer God’s call, but through God’s empowerment did! A true Spiritual calling is one that requires complete reliance upon God. Think of Abraham, he gave up fame and fortune to pursue a God who was not from his region. The Apostles gave up their livelihood to follow Jesus, and in the end die a martyr’s death. Seldom does one answering the call of the Lord find that they make no sacrifice.

  1. Have other people suggested you pursue a particular endeavor/ministry?

I told someone at lunch today, often times other people see our giftedness and calling before we do! Parents do this with their little children, and friends do this with friends. A question I ask to ordination candidates is first who did you train under? Then, what ministerial areas did they suggest you pursue, and which ones did they suggest you refrain from? In parishioners lives friends may encourage you to a particular job, but others may hear you say your aspiration for a job and encourage you to change your mind. Listen to your friends! A great biblical example is the sending out of Paul. Saul (who was a terrorist) meets the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, then is brought to the disciples who lay hands on him, and say that they believe God called / equipped him to bring the Gospel to the gentiles! What a blessing that he had friends who did this, for nearly ⅔ of our New Testament comes from him doing this very ministry!

  1. Have you got another option?

As we study the heroes of the faith, many times God directs their path by shutting every other door! Remember Jonah? He wanted to run from God’s calling to the equivalent of the French riviera, but instead God sends him to the warlords of Afghanistan! Just because you don’t like your calling, doesn’t mean that it isn’t truly your calling. I think the combination of desire, and friends can be the means by which God persistently redirects you back toward your calling. Sure you could “run,” but God will continually pursue His will in your life!
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With the billions of people on this planet, does it really matter that I do what God desires? This question is like the myth that “my vote doesn’t matter.” If everyone were to show up and vote, then suddenly everyone’s vote matters. But even if few people show up to vote, their vote really matters. Millions of Christians claim God's calling on their life doesn’t matter, so those that listen to God’s calling are even more matterful!

For the sake of the Gospel, listen to our Savior’s call in your life! For he has called and will equip you for things you cannot even conceive of!

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