Ministry 5 Enabled and Put

 For the complete list of this series in progress, please go to

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My motivation to write this series is because at this time (October/November 2018) we are about to embark on another round of an intensive Pastors Development Program session here in Cincinnati and this subject is very much on my mind.

In part four of this series, I started to show how entry into the ministry is by God’s invitation.  Paul wrote to Timothy that he was “enabled” and “put into the ministry.”  The converse is choosing the ministry for what may be the wrong reasons as was in the case of Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8.  He was impressed by what he perceived to be the flamboyance of the ministry that was already a part of his showmanship in the sorceries he performed.  He loved being out in front of people. He lusted after the power over people that was associated with the public side of the ministry.  He was willing to pay/bribe the Apostle Peter to fast track him into this recognized role. 

While Simon was stopped, others like him have slipped through into the ministry by convincing their peers and superiors to have the mantle of eldership bestowed upon them through ordination.  They were successful in being outwardly ordained and recognized, but inwardly they did not have the heart and foundation to live up to what the ministry is and their career ended up on the rocks. 

Ministry literally means service.  Those who do not have this at the root of their desire, end up manipulating and abusing the people that they are to care for and give their lives for.

I have been in the ministry continuously for more than 49 years. In July 2019, it will be half a century.  From 1969 to 1972 I was a trainee. I was ordained by Dennis Luker in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Pentecost 1972.

I was sent out into the ministry upon graduation in Bricket Wood, England in a second wave of trainees.  I was not top of the class in speaking, for sure. I’m not sure what it was, but I had trouble putting thoughts together on paper to give a compelling speech.  In Ambassador and Spokesman’s clubs I was never voted “Most Effective Speaker” however, I did get the “Most Improved Speaker” cup from time to time.  There was always lots of room and opportunity for improvement for me.

I did well in my Ambassador College classes, however. The Epistles of Paul and the Gospels being my favorite and most life-changing studies.

When I look at the life of so many of our ministers, mine included, I see an enabling placement by a Higher Power that works out a Providential plan.  I see it in the Church overall and I see it in my personal life and the life of others.  I know it is God who has opened doors and sometimes shut them.  I see a Guiding and helping Hand through the hills and valleys of life.  I see biblical heroes like Paul that had a life-long career that was initiated, enabled and sustained by God.  Paul could easily say that he was enabled and put into the ministry considering his belligerent  circumstances. 

While my life and ministry is nowhere near the intensity of the Apostle Paul’s, I look in retrospect of how God put me into the ministry and worked in my life.  I invite others who are in that state to do the same.

As I was graduating from Ambassador College I was told a few months out that I would NOT be in the ministry.  My role would be “something else.”  I listened and came to terms with this decision and thanked God for having this assessment of superiors as I believed it was God’s Will. I hoped that I could do other things of value for the Church. 

Then, living in the United Kingdom, I was offered a job to work in the Church’s Jerusalem office for Mr. Ray Dick.  This was great!  The Church had a lot going on in Israel with Mr. Herbert Armstrong traveling regularly to Israel in 1968 and 1969.  While the names of new trainees were announced as they were sent to all corners of the world, I felt it was my lot to do what I was assigned.  I accepted my role in the office and technical environment.  After all, while at Ambassador College, my job the entire three years was working in pre-press and photography for various church publications, including the Plain Truth magazine and this would be my career path.

Then!  Literally a few weeks before graduation I was notified that there was a need for more ministerial trainees in the United States and I was on the list with a few more classmates to be sent to work for pastors in America.  Wow! I was stunned, thankful, surprised and much more. I was told it would be to Sioux Falls, South Dakota which was 240 miles from the Twin Cities where I grew up.  My mother had been widowed two years earlier at the age of 40 and I was so happy that I could be nearer to her.  I literally saw the Hand of God in enabling and putting me into the ministry and I my heart was set to give it my all. 

Once in the field ministry as a trainee, first in Sioux Falls, then Rapid City and then Minneapolis and working for three different mentors the consensus of my superiors was to ordain me.  And, so there I was: in the ministry.

The ministry is a calling from God that needs to be answered with the greatest humility and integrity.  It is a calling in which you grow.  Always learning, improving, overcoming. 

After decades in the ministry I look at my peers and their stories. I have a kinship with those who successfully stayed the course, sailed through rocks and sand bars and seriously and meekly worked with peers and parishioners to fulfil their calling by building with gold, silver and precious stones (I Corinthians 3;12-13). 

More to come as we see the process of putting and enabling.

For the complete list of this series in progress, please go to

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