[From July 22, 2013]
"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised before hand through his prophets in the holy scriptures."
"Tell us about your 'call.'" That's the question every Board of Ordained Ministry asks every potential United Methodist Church minister. "How did God call you into ministry?" We must be able to articulate that call story as pastors. It's not about "doing a good job" or "having the right skill set" to be a pastor. Those are important, sure, but not the essential component of the equation. What's crucial is whether (and how) God has called one into ministry.
One of the biggest issues I struggled with when I was discerning my call from God was whether it meant I had to radically change or could "still be me?" I didn't want to have to conform to some preconceived notion of what a minister had to be like. I loved who God had created me to be, and dreaded having to give up part of my personality just to be a pastor.
Of course, I've made my peace with that - and have (hopefully) navigated that transition well - becoming the pastor God has made me to be without compromising my personality. But Paul reminded me today (Romans 1:1) that I am still "set apart for the gospel." I can be myself, sure. But I also must always recognize I've been given a specific calling & everything I do should be about the Gospel. (I'm just stoked I can do it with my personality intact!)