How do you move from one place to another? Whether you are changing your address, career, or even accepting the call to ministry, the answer is simple and obvious. Many miss the concept that you simply step in the right direction. One step at a time. There are no gigantic relocations of talent, ability or calling that skips the stepping stones of growth. The crucial thought, however, is where and when am I starting from? Knowing the answer to Point A is vital. We do not all start at the same point in life, albeit we want to go in the same direction, especially when we know the calling God has on our walk.
McElhaney has provided a great tool for all ministers, young and seasoned, to read and reflect on identifying the past, present and future of personal ministry. Yet, this is not all about the personal needs we take ownership of, but to also assist us when we consider the ordered steps needed for the young and maturing minister. Were a well written book like this available to me as a young man, and had my pastors directed me to read and study the material provided, I reflect on where my life and ministry may have been challenged differently and what would life be like today. We all need something, and someone, to aim us down the road, effectively mentoring us as we learn the role of ministry that applies to each of us personally.
As I approach my elder years it is easy to read the paragraphs from the pages of this book and see my past with more clarity than I have noticed before. It is almost as if these words provide me with something desperately required by many seasoned ministers today. Consider these particular words from the perspective of the author.
“…when you stand with your pastor and when you learn to submit to his vision, you become what every pastor needs – strength.”
When you are young, you feel invincible, although you still call on your coaches, mentors and pastors to help you through the challenges you face. When you are seasoned, and each moment of ministry requires more strength, then having young ministers with a “go to” and “can do” attitude is a blessing. It is not that they are ready to shoulder the full load, or carry the ultimate responsibility, but each one is fashioned with callings and talents to assist the seasoned minister in a profitable way for both. Young ministers can become the Aaron or Hur for the support of the weary leader, just like Moses needed.
McElhaney writes with an ease of a person who has been there, lived through it, and has grown with each challenge. Woven through these pages we can understand his past, and how he dealt with the challenges that leads him to his present life, and has given him the hope of a proper future. We can each read these words and consider where we once were, and comprehend our present responsibilities with a clear vision of our role.
“When you learn to appreciate your role in ministry, you start to understand the value of what you’re doing. … How many ministers actually get years of hands-on training before they are thrust into the role of pastor?”
Reader, realize that God’s timing and plan for your ministry are answered by silence, or “Yes” and even there are times when He speaks “Now”… Read this book and pray for your role to be satisfied in God’s calling.
Pastor, Teacher, Student