I wasn’t always a minister. I’ve been in ministry of some sort for about 13 years, but this is not what I thought I’d be doing when I “grew up”.
When I went to college I wanted to be an engineer. I started at Harding as a pre-engineering student. It was when I got to organic chemistry that I realized that chemical engineering was out for me, so I switched to mechanical engineering. When I got to heat transfer I decided I wanted to do something with fewer moving parts so I switched to civil engineering.
Things went well for me in engineering. I was working 40 hours per week at Walmart. I had a new family complete with baby girl. I was running a paper route (400 papers per night), and I was still maintaining a C average in my classes.
When I realized I didn’t want to sit in an office crunching measurement numbers and calculations I switched majors again. I wanted human interaction. If you know any engineers you know they don’t think like a lot of people do, and many are very awkward socially. This is because their work is VERY intellectual, and they have to be extremely logically oriented, so their jokes are different and they don’t function well with the emotional sort (I say this as a recovering engineer student). So sitting in an office and working on a project with few other people suits them. I, on the other hand, crave social interaction.
So I switched once again to education. I wanted to use my math skills to teach others. I knew there would be much social interaction in that field, and I could influence someone’s life for good at the same time. This switch added another three years to my schooling for a total of six years in college.
What if I had decided to study about teaching or engineering all my life? Would I be a teacher?
What do you like to do? If you spent all your time studying about fishing and tying flies and gathering equipment, would that make you a fisherman? If you watched all the football games and knew every play; if you studied all the rules to football would that make you a professional football player?
Maybe you like knitting, so you study all the knots and needles and patterns. You even gather all the appropriate material. Would that make you a knitter?
I love rock climbing. I read about it and have all the gear. I know the knots and the great places to climb, but until I put my hand on a rock and pick myself off the ground I am not a climber.
We can study deeply in the word of God. We can attend church week after week. We memorize all the scriptures and even live good moral lives, but that doesn’t make us a Christian.
Christianity isn’t a moral religion. Christianity is an evangelistic lifestyle. To be a Christian is to be a disciple of Christ. Jesus said “follow me.” It’s hard to do that if you never move from your comfortable position.
Many people have gone to church all their lives and know all the right biblical answers, but they aren’t helping anyone else come into the Kingdom. They aren’t disciples. They are merely consumers of information.
Don’t do church. Don’t be a perpetual student. Be a worker. Be a disciple. What made me a teacher is when I began to teach. What makes me a preacher is that I tell others about Jesus. Guess what. You don’t have to have a degree to be a preacher. Just tell your friends about the One who gives you life and hope and forgiveness. Follow Jesus, and he said “make disciples”. When I’m actively making disciples I find that I am still constantly learning.
So don’t just attend church. Be the church. Shine your light. Tell others. And watch yourself grow in faith as you share it with others.