Looking Into Full-Time Gospel Ministry

By Danny Chua

What is it like to enter full-time, paid, gospel ministry? How big of a change is it? Many think that those who ‘take the plunge’ have chosen to undergo an unbelievably drastic change. It’s as though someone were an app designer today and switched careers to become a professional swimmer tomorrow – you leave behind a vocation or industry you’re well-skilled in for something you’ve never trained for. 

But this is not what the Bible tells us about gospel ministry. First of all, it’s not some unimaginable job for the chosen few. As we’ve heard many times now in Paul’s teachings and our church’s Next Lap Vision, ministry i.e., the work of building up the body of Christ so that the church displays his kindness and saving grace in Jesus to all the world, is the awesome privilege and lifelong responsibility of every Christian (Ephesians).

This means we see all Christians partaking in the work of Christian ministry naturally in their homes, workplaces, schools, and church small groups etc. Many, and not only the employees of a church, will disciple, evangelise, and serve. 

But still, some will and should be equipping the church in the capacity of full-time, paid workers. These are those who most exemplify Christlikeness and godliness to the rest of the saints. Then, they’re also particularly gifted to equip the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12), and entrust the gospel message to others who can teach (2 Tim. 2:1-2). 

How do we know if anyone fits what is described above? We see the way they have been doing the work of Christian ministry wherever they are – whether as a stay-home parent, an engineer, an admin professional or a student. We see how a Christian wrestle with their week-in-and-out struggle to faithfully honour Christ at home or in their workplace, among their unsaved loved ones, and within the local church.

These were some of the things we discussed and explored last Saturday at our annual ZB Look Into Full-Time event. Praise God that 20 over participants came to hear from the Bible and a testimony by our ministry staff, Timothy Ong. Here are some reflections from our session: 

John Lim: As someone who recently graduated from the ZB EXPLORE internship this past year, I was and still am very interested in full time paid ministry. LIFT gave me an excellent overview of ministry life, and my main takeaway was that being a ministry worker requires one to at least be rejoicing in having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, so that we can invite others to the same one-ness in Christ. Of course, practical challenges like money and the concern of one’s parents may arise, but I believe that if God wants me to be part of the church’s workforce, he will surely make a way like how He’s constantly done so in the past.

Deborah Loone: It was good to remember that God’s ministry is foremost about bringing dead sinners into oneness with Him – that includes me! I realise what a privilege & joy it is to be working for such a loving King, for people to draw near to Him! The prospect of leaving my secular job at this point of my career, where my peers would be getting promoted or a pay raise – has made me wonder if I’m being foolish. But this truth in God’s Word has been recurring in my thoughts & conversations – “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” [Jim Elliot; ref John 12:25]

Brother A*: LIFT was a good reminder that we are followers of Jesus being sent into the world for the sake of the church, and full-time paid ministry forms a great platform for carrying out that work. The testimony sharing during the session further showed me that despite challenges like financial considerations and opposition, God can still provide a way, if that’s where He calls you for this season. Even so, I appreciated the conversations on how this line of work may not be for everyone right now, but instead we are all called to carry out God’s ministry work wherever we are. The path may not be clear for everyone, but staying open to God’s leading is a helpful start, as we serve Him in all areas of our lives.

Brother Z*: If such a large part of your daily life is spent trying to love others and letting God’s love be known, maybe it would make sense to consider full-time paid ministry a bit more seriously – I found this a helpful way of thinking about it, but maybe I’m not there yet. Does it mean that I don’t plug away at Gospel work in the meantime? I don’t think so. After all, Ephesians 4 reminds us that we are all to be equipped “for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”. But if, in time, God indeed calls me to serve Him as a full-time paid Gospel labourer, may He also give me the courage to respond not with “yes” or “no”, but with “when” and “how”.

*Some prefer to remain anonymous for now. 

Please join us in prayer that the Lord of the harvest will graciously equip and move many more hearts for the urgent gospel needs in the local church and the nations.

Find out more about the Zion Bishan EXCEL Apprenticeship here or contact Ps Dev Menon (dev@zionbishan.org.sg) for more information.

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