A gracEmail reader is considering leaving church ministry as a career but he feels paralyzed by the fear of making a wrong choice. Some friends are pressuring him to remain as he is. Would it be right for him to take some time away from work to seek God’s guidance and settle his mind concerning it?
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God invites us to seek his guidance and he promises to direct our path as we trust and obey (Psalm 37:3-7; Prov. 3:5-6; Isa. 30:19-21; John 10:3-4, 27-28; Rom. 12:1-2; Heb. 13:20-21). I have done that myself more than once when facing decisions — sometimes with fasting, always with prayer (listening as well as talking), researching, counseling with unbiased brothers or sisters, reflecting, and keenly watching to see what God was doing. If you make God’s glory your priority and his will your ambition, he will honor and use any decision you ultimately reach.
Certainly it is appropriate to receive counsel or information from any interested person. But such individuals must also respect your right to discern God’s will in the course of your personal relationship with the heavenly Father. Please know that you are not leaving God’s ministry so long as you can honestly say that you love God and want to serve him and your fellow man. The biblical truth is that “ministry” is every Christian’s calling regardless of how we happen to earn a living.
Many people whom God has led out of career ministry have seen doors open for proclamation and witness which they never could have entered as professional clergy. You might also discover — should God lead you that direction — a delightful freedom of speech and of conscience when your job does not depend on your religious views. If God leads you to continue in vocational ministry, you may be assured that he will faithfully connect you with partners and recipients in keeping with his own purpose.