I have spent a lot of time thinking about my future, especially over the past few weeks. At times I have been very high and encouraged by the possibilities and the chance for new adventure. At other times I have been very discouraged.
Why am I discouraged?
You see, I have not been to seminary, I don’t have a masters degree, and I have never worked full-time in ministry. These thoughts come to me ever so often. The devil then uses them to discourage me, to try to convince me that I HAVE NO FUTURE. You see, based on these measures alone he would be right. However, MY future is not based on these measures.
Certainly there are churches that will look for these measures and, finding them absent from my resume, will set me aside and move on to the next person. I believe that this is the reason that I will not even get so much as a phone call from MOST of the churches that I send my resume to. In fact most of these churches will not even send me an email letting me know that I have been declined. This is sad, but it is true. The Devil often reminds me of this.
Then, as Casting Crowns puts it, “But the voice of truth tells me a different story.”
Man I love the words of that song. When I start to doubt my future, the voice of truth (the Holy Spirit) reminds me that these measures DO NOT DETERMINE MY FUTURE. The voice of truth reminds me that God has a plan for my life and that HE WILL CARRY IT OUT. The voice of truth reminds me of Peter who did not have a formal education but was one of the founding fathers of the Christian Church.
How could Peter, without an education, do such powerful things for Christ? Easy! God gave him what he needed. God called Peter. Peter answered and obeyed, and God blessed his ministry in a mighty way.
I am not discounting the value of education. In fact, if I had the money I would sign up for Liberty University’s Online M.Div RIGHT NOW. Someday I will do just that. However, I DON’T believe that education is the only measure of someones ability to minister or to lead within the church. I think to discount someones potential simply based on this is foolish and short sighted.
So, what am I doing about it? NOTHING!!
Ok, that’s not entirely true, but as far as what I am changing I am changing nothing. You see at this point in my life going back to school (I already have a Bachelor’s degree) would mean taking out student loans. While I know that the education would be valuable I don’t believe that going into further debt to get it would be God honoring. So, I have given that to God. If God wants me to go back to school He will have to make the funds available. If He wants me to go to my next ministry without this education, then He will have to open those doors too. You see, as I talked about yesterday I am giving it to God. I have done, and will continue to do, all I can to get ready and I am trusting God to do the rest.Matt Norman
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