Seventh-day Adventist Minister's Handbook
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The Seventh-day Adventist Minister's Handbook (revised in 2009) provides a wealth of information on the role of the minister in the church organization.
Short excerpt from the book:
"A call to the gospel ministry is a uniquely personal call. It must come only from Christ. It includes three distinct spiritual qualifications.
A Personal Call From Christ
Ministry a privilege. Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is the highest privilege and the most fascinating adventure ever given to human kind. ""The greatest work, the noblest effort, in which men can engage is to point sinners to the Lamb of God. True ministers are colaborers with the Lord in the accomplishment of His purposes"" (Gospel Workers, p. 18). Henry Ward Beecher said it well: ""Working for men! There is nothing so congenial. It is the only business on earth that I know of, excepting the mother's business that is clean all the way through; because it is using superior faculties, superior knowledge, not to take advantage of men, but to lift them up and cleanse them, to mould them, to fashion them, to give them life, that you may present them before God"" (Lectures on Preaching, p. 48).
Ministry a divine appointment. ""God has a church, and she has a divinely appointed ministry"" (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 52). You may choose a profession but the ministry cannot be invaded that way, for the ministry is more than a profession; it is a calling. ""And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was"" (Heb. 5:4).
The true minister for God is not self-called. As with the apostle Paul, the initiative is not the individual's, but the Lord's. Paul did not choose; God chose. Paul's choice was whether or not to respond to God's choice. His testimony: ""He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry"" (1 Tim. 1:12). (See also Isa. 6 and Jeer. 1.)
A call to the gospel ministry is a call to be not a sociologist or a public performer, but an ambassador for Christ A call to anything less is not a call to the ministry. This call demands a full-time, life-consuming devotion.
Question your call unless you feel that in any other work, no matter how large the salary, the job would seem too small. As Martin Luther counseled: ""Lest thou art called, avoid preaching as thou wouldst hell."" Christ has a work for you, a plan for your life. If you're in the wrong place, not only will you fill it poorly, but the right place is empty
A Personal Relationship With Christ
Jesus ""called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him"" (Mark 3:13). Christ called they came. The early apostles were successful in inviting others to come to Christ, because they themselves had already come. You cannot bring until you have been brought. To give others what you yourself do not have is an impossible and frustrating task. And after the disciples came, they spent the next three years in an intimate, everyday relationship with Christ. Only then were they prepared to minister successfully.
Saul saw a vision of Christ on the Damascus road and it caused him to ask, ""Lord, what do You want me to do?"" (Acts 9:6). He was ready for ministry only after catching a vision of Christ. Young ministers sometimes seem to catch a vision of themselves: as sanctified divines, as powerful preachers, as leaders of adoring congregations. Stay away from the ministry unless you catch a vision of Christ. Your power in appealing to human hearts will be in proportion to your fellowship with Him."
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