I’m a Doctor in my 50’s.
Of late, God has been impressing on me to serve Him more. Im not sure whether I should go to Bible School, become a full time pastor, continue to practise medicine and take up more responsibilities in the church, or what? How much should my circumstances, e.g. finances and family, effect my decision?
It’s wonderful you’re obedient in responding to God’s call to serve Him more. I will share some principles gleaned from our own experience on how to be sure of your decision.
1 | YOUR CALLING
What is your gifting? Is He calling you to be a pastor, an evangelist, a teacher, an administrator, give hospitality, provide help…? (See the gifts listed in Eph. 4:11, 1 Cor.12:4-11, Rom. 12:6-8.) How effective are you? Are your giftings recognised by others? A friend of ours gave up medicine to be an itinerant evangelist after his call was confirmed through leading 80 people to salvation in that one year he was praying about going full time. He also knew he was a teacher when he received many invitations to teach in China.
2 | INSIDE OR OUTSIDE CHURCH WALLS
Some people think that God loves full-time church workers more than marketplace workers. All can serve God in whatever job they do and all work is equally important to God. We once advised a successful real estate agent who wanted to join our church as a pastor to remain in his job of selling houses to new migrants. Being hospitable and caring, he went out of his way to help them settle in, became their friend and was able to bring them to church. We pointed out to him that he could reach more non-believers in his work than in the church. He took our advice and continues to this day to reach out to those who would never think of going to church. So his service to God is evangelism using his gift of helping and meeting needs to connect people with God. So ask yourself: will I be more effective inside the church or outside. You can serve God in your field of profession and be the salt and light there.
3 | FULL TIME OR PART-TIME
Tek was co-pastoring a church while working as a government doctor. A time came when he felt uneasy that the office telephone receptionist was passing on calls, not from patients, but from church members. He felt it was not fair for him to take the government’s salary while spending so much time working for the church. So he resigned to serve full time in the church. You may want to remain bivocational and transit gradually.
4 | SALARIED OR VOLUNTARY
Tek told the real estate agent, “Not only are you are more effective in the business world than in the church, the church will have to pay you if you become a pastor. But if you are a businessman, you will pay tithes to the church.” On resigning from doctoring, Tek told the church that we had savings and would not need a salary as yet. That was 20 years ago and till today, we’ve not received a salary from anyone except God who is the best employer and whose salary package included abundant finances (investments, unsolicited love gifts from relatives and friends), robust health, family harmony, ministries in different countries, etc. Truly God is no man’s debtor.
5 | CONFIRMATION
Discuss your decision with your spouse and children. You need their support. You should also have confirmation from your Christian brethren and church leaders. Find out if your church requires Bible School qualifications. You will be assured of hearing clearly from God when you see evidence of people attracted to God through your ministry. God will also give you unmistakably clear supernatural signs of confirmation, so ask Him for them.
Your service starts now, not when you go full time As you strengthen your stakes in what you are already doing, God will extend your tent. As you are faithful in little so He will add more and bigger assignments. Remember, “Bloom where you’re planted”.
Do you have an issue you need advice on? Write to Dear Goldie at firstname.lastname@example.org for her godly counsel. Selected questions may be featured in this column. If you leave an email address, you will have your question answered, whether it’s published or not.