When we talk about the divine call that doesn’t necessarily mean that God strikes us with a lightning bolt, giving us the knowledge that he wants us to share the gospel with the world. The Christian church is a gathering of believers. He gave that gathering its marching orders at the Great Commission. Every Christian has a license to witness to the forgiveness that only Jesus can offer.
The question of the divine call that we covered in our Bible study focused on the specific call that some men and women receive into the PUBLIC ministry. First what do we mean by the public ministry? Public ministry in the church is the same concept as it is in government. We call our Mayor of Winston Salem a public minister because he serves on behalf of a group of people, namely the citizens of Winston Salem. I serve Star of Bethlehem Lutheran Church on behalf of its members. That goes for the church council and the Sunday school teacher too.
How does a person get called into the public ministry? God could send them a dream or a vision – he did this with the prophets in the Old Testament at times. He could still do that today, but normally he uses the church to call people to serve. In Acts 14:23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders to serve the church, as was their custom. In Acts 20:28 Paul is heading back to Jerusalem. He would not see the members of the Ephesian church again so he called to meet them. It is at that time that Paul reminded them that it was the Holy Spirit who made them elders. The word is overseer – this is used interchangeably with elder and deacon describing a church leader. The word pastor isn’t used in the Bible for a church leader.
Even though Paul did the appointing – it was the a divine call from God. So also today even though it was the Conference of Presidents in our church body who appoint the graduates of our seminary to their first church – their call is divine as well. However a church chooses to call a public minister to conduct gospel ministry on their behalf, the call is divine.
How does a pastor decide when he is give two divine calls? Is the calling process itself divine? These two of a bunch of great questions that we answer in our Bible study on The Divine Call. This Bible class also served as the open forum to discuss Pastor Guldberg’s call to serve St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Niles, IL.
Please click HERE to view the Bible class slides.