Choosing Death or Life – Church Work or Ministry Calling?

by Jim on September 18, 2013


Ministry Encouragement Podcast – Episode #064   9-18-13 

Your Host: Rev. Jim W. Hollis, Executive Director of Proactive Ministries, our weekly Sponsor

Hello and welcome to another episode of our podcast.  I deeply appreciate your personal loyalty in sharing in this time with me each week.  If this is your first time, you are sincerely welcome and I am honored you are here.  I hope you will enjoy several episodes and feel encouraged to subscribe and share this with those you would like to bless.

Today I am going to be looking at a topic that is lived out constantly in nearly every church.  We are at times recruited to take either leadership or committee positions in the church.  Sometimes we are not only asked to accept a role, but we are strongly persuaded to accept it.  At other times we are simply told, “Please do this because we don’t have anyone else who will if you don’t accept it.”   This is the very kind of recruiting that perpetuates what I refer to as “Church Work.”  And as one my close colleagues – Dr. Warren Lathem – has said for years, “Church Work kills, but Ministry Calling fulfills.”  How true this is!!!

So today’s topic is: 

Are we being called to Church Work (which kills) or Ministry Calling (which fulfills)?

And just how is one to know clearly the difference in these two things?  They both appear good and nice enough.  Yet, one of them often results in frustration, anger, resentment, fatigue and worse.  The other one brings peace, joy, hope and a true sense of being used by God for God’s Glory and changed lives.

IF you are called to serve in your church in some way this fall, then please consider the following questions before you answer:

1) What is one or more of my Spiritual Gifts from the lists in the New Testament?

2) What is the center of my own passion for ministry?  Who is it for?  What is it doing?

3) Does God have a clear calling on my life and have I discerned it with confidence?

4) Am I seeing certain doors in my life open and close as I walk toward them in faith, seeking God’s Will for me?

5) What area of ministry brings the greatest amount of joy in my own life?

If anyone asks you to serve, be certain to give no answer immediately.  PRAY first and don’t just pray quick prayers.  Pray deep prayers of discernment and truly listen to what the Spirit is saying to you personally in your prayers about the question.  Is this what God is calling me to do specifically at this time in my life?  Yes or no?

If the guidance you receive in prayers is “no” or “not sure but it’s not yes” then do not accept the position or responsibility.  It likely means that God definitely has a ministry for you but you have not heard clearly YET.  Keep praying and searching.  Listen with your heart.

And don’t be afraid to try different ministry areas of participation as a way of gaining greater clarity and affirmation of your own calling.  Experience serving in various roles and capacities and then ask God if this is the place for you at this time.

SO – please avoid Church Work and passionately pursue Ministry Calling in your life. The entire concept of “asking for volunteers” is killing us in many congregations.  When we ask for volunteers, we instantly cheapen whatever opening is available.  Each of us is a unique and special creation of God, made in God’s image and likeness, yet with a unique personality, gift mix and strengths. I don’t want to volunteer for tons of things because I am special and I want to be called by God to serve in the ways that God desires for me to serve.

To change this we need to give rise and full attention to what I refer to as “spiritual recruiting” for ministry.  This is grounded in prayer discernment and personal affirmation in deep, personal prayers.  It’s not your typical way of Leadership Selection in the church and will not produce consistently poor leaders – those who don’t know why they were asked and then not trained for what they are asked to do!

In light of all this, please know that God has a calling on each of our lives, right now. What is yours?  How do you know?


Thank you so much again for being a faithful listener to our Podcast episodes.  I count it a joy to bring this to you and simply ask that you share this part of our ministry with others you know.  You may wish to give this to your Pastor, other church Leaders, or youth in your congregation.  Let them know about this podcast and encourage them to subscribe as well.

And as always, your personal input and feedback is enormously encouraging and helpful to me.  You can contact me in one of several ways:


Facebook: Jim W. Hollis  OR Proactive Ministries Page (please LIKE our Page)

LinkedIn: Jim Hollis

Staff Offices in Atlanta, GA, USA: (770) 803-9988

Until our next time together may the Lord bless you and keep you in joy and peace!




As always, thanks for your being here today.  I would love to receive your thoughts, input, feedback and comments on any of our Episodes.  I would encourage you to share this with others you have in your group of friends, faith community and other groups you would like to bless.

My contact information is:


Facebook: Jim W. Hollis     OR    Like our Proactive Ministries Page on Facebook

Voicemail: Use the button on the left of this blog with your mouse and computer microphone

Ministry Office in Smyrna, GA, USA: (770) 803-9988

Until next time, may God richly bless you and may we all be witnesses of joy for Christ!



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

hreling October 17, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Please pray for us that we will reach more people to Christ.

Thank you
Pastor Hre Ling


Jim October 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Pastor Hre Ling, we are praying that we will all be reaching more people for Jesus Christ. Thanks for being one of our participants in the Podcast. We have plenty of “practical and effective ministry strategies” that work well for doing just that. Email or call if you’re interested. And we can do these by Webinar with churches. USA:(770) 803-9988.


amy February 13, 2014 at 12:42 am

THANK YOU. this was beyond helpful and spoke much truth into my current situation. you’re a blessing.


Jim February 18, 2014 at 8:05 pm

So glad you enjoyed this Episode. Please know that it is always a joy to hear from you. Keep us in your prayers and we are delighted you’re part of our growing community.

Jim Hollis


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