The mission of the church is amazing. It’s all about transformation. We are all separated from God until we are redeemed by the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross.

We are saved by grace, but we are also changed by grace.

What is that transformation intended to accomplish? Certainly to worship God and live a life of biblical values, but to what end?

We are all called to ministry. (Ephesians 4:11-13) So that the whole body of Christ becomes mature attaining the fullness of Christ. (Transformed!)

A great question is: Are you called to full-time vocational ministry or marketplace ministry? Both are equally valid and powerful.

There is nothing larger or more significant than the Kingdom of God and our privilege to serve and advance the mission. Whether you represent Jesus on staff at a church or as someone in the marketplace, we’re all on the same team.

One of my great personal passions is to see sharp young teens and adults called to vocational ministry, but I’m also aware that those numbers will always be small compared to the gigantic army of Christians who are out in business and the non-profit sectors of society. It is this “army” that will be counted amongst the greatest force ever to change the world.

With that context in mind, here are three things that are not good reasons to pursue full-time vocational ministry.

1) You think God is calling you to full time ministry but you are not sure.

The truth is, if there is anything other than a full-time ministry that you can do and be fulfilled, happy and productive, you should do it. Only follow a path to full-time ministry if God’s call gives you no other option. Don’t experiment with full-time ministry. If you are unsure, serve as a leader in your church first. Test your call by looking for:

  • “Fruit” (very productive results) and joy (deep meaning and satisfaction)
  • Confirmation from church leadership
  • Doors opening with opportunities for you to serve at a church

2) Your business career is not going well.

I’ve had hundreds of conversations with well-meaning and wonderful people who were in a difficult season at work and concluded that maybe they should “get a job in the church.” That is a big mistake.

A job at the church you love is not the solution to your career not going well, or being out of work. The best transitions are made from a platform of success in the marketplace to full-time work in the church.

3) You believe that working in a church is the best way to increase your ministry impact.

It’s true that full-time ministry can produce extraordinary Kingdom results. But equally true, with potential for a much larger scale, is substantial Kingdom advancement from the millions of Christians worldwide who volunteer in a local church, and serve out in the community where they live and work.

The church needs highly gifted, talented and committed leaders in business and social sectors. You have an incredible opportunity to:

  • Spread the grace of God in environments pastors can’t get to easily.
  • Model the life of Christ to dozens of non-Christians on a daily basis.
  • Invite more people to church.
  • See needs and meet them with love, grace and compassion.
  • Represent the church in a positive light.
  • Pray for your church staff.
  • Demonstrate generosity as the Holy Spirit prompts you.
  • Pray for lost and hurting people, who don’t know Jesus or attend a church.

This list just barely scratches the surface.

As a Christian, you have a desire to serve and make a difference. That’s good. God put that in you. That might be on a local church staff, but I want to encourage you that your role in the advancement of God’s Kingdom from a marketplace position is fantastic, maybe even larger than from inside the church.

If you are not serving, ask your pastor how you can get involved and make a difference!

The partnership between pastors, church staff, and all of you out in the community is powerful! Let’s move the ball down the field!