When God calls people to the ministry, the first thing they do is go to Bible school, and maybe, seminary to be trained.
Jesus instructed us to make disciples of, “all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:20 (and teaching them to observe all things.)
We are all called to learn and to observe the things of God.
My call was specific to the pastorate, but how do I do that with my job and a young family? Well, God put me on a slow track, which took 20 years of taking Bible courses. Plus, the Lord gave God-life experiences. Some people call it Hard Knocks training. Mine were sweet Knocks, because I knew He was with me (us).
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing that He that begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
God gave me strong mentors along the way to instruct me.
First, one was a Bible theology teacher/pastor and friend. I was taught solid theology.
Second, one taught me how to love and shepherd people, which he did elegantly.
Third, this one showed me the love for local missions and foreign missions. I have had the great privilege to have gone on over 30 mission trips around the world, serving and mentoring many in the field sharing Christ to those whom I have met along the way.
The fourth mentor had a love for poor people. The world calls them unlovely, but they are precious in the eyes of the Lord, and He ministered to them. From that we started a Helping Hands Ministry at our church, with 30+ people a week coming for jobs, food and ministry.
In my journey, there were many times, I did not want to be changed, but the Lord’s hand was strong on me in spite of my resistance. The Lord would remind me of this, Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ it is no longer I who live But Christ lives in me.”
My advice to you is to let the Lord have His way with you. God always chips away the baggage to make us look more like Jesus.
Bill Badal is Pastor Emeritus at First Baptist. He was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, and moved to the United States as a teenager.