I received my alumni update yesterday, and they said that chapel messages were available on-line at sermonaudio.com. I found a message preached there by Kevin Bauder called “A Call to Ministry,” where he is asking these collegians to consider if they are called to ministry. You should listen to this sermon (and, for your convenience, you can do it without even leaving my site):

Download the sermon.

Here are a couple exerpts:

Right now churches are desperate for leaders who can model the character of Christ. People have to be shown how to walk with God and the sad truth that there are many unprincipled men in ministry today. And some of them have built very big ministries. When you get the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Lord Jesus is not going to be concerned with how many people you packed into the auditorium on Sunday morning, he is going to be concerned with how fully you have led a congregation to manifest the character of Christ. And you can’t do that if you do not yourself manifest the character of Christ. Churches need pastors who can do that, who are willing to give themselves to the Lord, who are willing to live lives of devotion, who are even willing to subject themselves to hardship and deprivation and even abuse for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Later Bauder addresses biblical church leadership:

There is such a thing as a biblical form of leadership, and one of the reasons that our churches are shriveling today in many cases is because they don’t have that biblical form of leadership. Biblical leadership is not telling people what to do. A biblical leader leads in two ways, first by his exposition. He opens the Word of God and lays the claims of Scripture upon the people of God. He shows them what difference it makes, and then he sets an example–his exposition and his example. He shows people how they ought to be changed because of the Word of God. Now he takes that right up to the level of the whole ministry. And if he does it well, if he is teaching the Scriptures soundly, if he is modeling it well, then he has the right to say—the moral right, the weight to say to his people–, what you are seeing in me, what you are hearing from me, do it, because God commands it.

One thing that may be a bit “controversial” in the message is that Bauder espouses the view that there is such a thing as a call to Christian ministry. In class, I remember being surprised that he took this view (I thought it was all but dead). I think I pretty well agree with him now. He address at the conclusion how you know you are called to ministry. He gives five proofs (here only summarized):

  1. Has God given you a desire for ministry?
  2. Do others see in you the kinds of gifts and abilities, or the calling that would lead you toward ministry?
  3. Do you see in yourself certian inclinations and gifts that equip you to serve in certain ministry capacities?
  4. Are you moved by the need for good leaders in the church?
  5. Do you seem to feel a sense of “ought” or a burden to serve in ministry?
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