by Mark Casto
As a young minister we have all experienced the call of God. For some it was in a service and God’s power was moving strong, for others it was by yourself in prayer, when God spoke to your heart and called you into the ministry. If you were like me, I started devouring the word of God, reading books about revival, and great men and women of God. My faith was stirred and I felt like nothing could stop me from being what God called me to be. And then my head came out of the clouds and there it was…a living room in an old parsonage with fifteen chairs.
When you are first called, your faith is sky-high and you’re ready to preach to 100,000 people in crusades around the world. You see yourself doing what Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, and Kathryn Kuhlman have done. You see yourself preaching to thousands, healing everybody, and your ministry sweeping the globe. But what you didn’t see was the fact that this incredible men and women of God started out exactly where you are! They didn’t start with thousands, they had services in the beginning where no one was healed, and they certainly didn’t have the finances do even do all that God had called them to do when they first got started.
We are so quick as young ministers to see only the highlights and neglect the difficulties, hard work, and hard decisions that these great ministers had to make to be who they were! You look at the lights and cameras, popularity, and never notice the discipline, fasting, praying, and seeking God that it took to be the man or woman of God that they were. Not only the physical and spiritual discipline, but also they faced opposition, disappointment, trials, and accusations that if you would be placed in the same situation most would give up. But there is a secret to why these great ministers made it…they believed in the word that God had given them for their life!
Paul tells his spiritual son, Timothy, in 1st Timothy 1:18-19 a very powerful statement that we must hold on to in our early years of ministry. “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,”. In other words, Paul is telling Timothy, you have to believe in the word that has been spoken over your life! Why does Paul begin his letter to Timothy with this statement? Because it is a vital link to the success of Timothy having a long term ministry.
Paul describes the experience of ministry for Jesus Christ as warfare. The devil certainly doesn’t like what you are doing, and people who love their sin will not enjoy your ministry either. On top of your spiritual enemy and the unrepentant, you will even experience people in ministry who don’t like what you are called to do either. Your situations will always change…people won’t always like the way you do services, people won’t show up to your 6am prayer meetings, sometimes your own leaders will not even support you. But, that doesn’t change God’s word over your life. We cannot allow disappointment; failure, rejection, stress, and popular opinion keep us from being what God has called us to be.
Believe in what God has called you to be, regardless if your own family believes it or not. Believe in your call, despite what people say about you. Believe in your mission, regardless of your current financial situation. Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” People will come and go, doors will open and shut, finances will increase and diminish, and your circumstances will always be changing. The only constant you have in life is Jesus Christ and His calling on your life! Believe in what He has called you to be!
How many great ministers did we not get to see because they couldn’t see past the circumstances of being young in the ministry? I wonder how many people haven’t heard the gospel because someone didn’t believe in his or her call? I wonder how many people could have experienced deliverance if they would have believed? You wouldn’t even be reading this article now if I had quit when things got tough. I think about the precious people in India who I had the privileged to minister to. Would they have heard if I didn’t go? I think about the Extreme. Would everyone in the ministry be together if I would have given up when only 6 people showed up for several weeks at the Extreme? I don’t have to worry about these things because I have resolved in my spirit that I say yes! It doesn’t matter what may come your way, if you believe, God will bring it to pass.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Matthew 24:35
I’m glad when I looked at that old parsonage with 15 chairs in Charleston, WV, I didn’t see it as a dead end. I saw those chairs as the beginning of an amazing adventure into the greater purpose of my life. I preached to those kids as if there were 15,000. Your word will come to pass as long as you never give up. In two years time, I went from 15 chairs, to preaching crusades in Panama where 11,000 would hear the gospel a night! Now by God’s grace we are ministering to thousands of people worldwide. So quit complaining, don’t have a pity party, and certainly don’t blame everybody else for why your not doing what God has called you to! Let’s believe together and join forces to change our generation for the glory of Jesus Christ!
Don’t give up! He is faithful to bring it to pass. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9) This generation wants to see what your “due season” looks like, so hold on!
In His service,