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What is Full Time Ministry?

Jul 1, 2011

So, we are about halfway through the summer now: How is your witnessing going? This is turning into a fascinating summer for me! I have been meeting so many people and have had amazing conversations about the Lord!

One atheist I met told me he was having his bachelor party in Las Vegas just to ‘sin’ for the weekend! Wasn’t that an interesting way to phrase it? Even he knew what he was going to be doing wasn’t right. He knew right from wrong! He told me he was a pretty hardcore atheist, but that he would read my book and get back in touch with me. I’m excited to hear his thoughts.

I went to a couple of baseball games in St. Louis to watch the Cardinals play, and one of my friends who plays for the team told me he was watching me in the stands witnessing! I had so many neat conversations in those stands. I have already gotten two emails from people that I met at the games! One of the conversations was with a Muslim man from Iraq who is a dentist here in the States now. We had the most interesting talk about religion that lasted for several innings. It was like the game didn’t exist. He was such a nice man. Actually, he was one of the nicest men I have ever met before. Friendly, kind, generous, loving towards all, and he has even been on medical mission trips with Christian organizations. But of course, we know that it is not by works that someone gets to heaven. That is why we talked about who the Biblical Jesus is. I want to make sure this man is born again and saved before he dies.

You see when I was at that baseball game, I was actually in full time ministry. But there is a common mis-perception that really needs to be corrected as we head toward the return of Jesus Christ. People always ask me, “How can I get into full time ministry?” What people are forgetting is that if you are breathing, and you are born again, you are already in full time ministry! Satan is just tricking you into thinking that you are not.

Remember in Matthew 28:19, 20 when Jesus said,

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

People call that the Great Commission, and that is every Christian’s call into full time ministry! That is why I stand at my front door and pray each day before I walk out it. Because I know when I head out that door, I must be in full time ministry mode. Just today, I had this great talk with Joe, who grew up Catholic, but now doesn’t really believe in much at all. It was a great talk about our Lord. He even told me that there is another Christian man who has been witnessing to him! I get so excited when I get to water a seed that someone else has already planted! Praise the Lord for those folks who are in full time ministry everywhere they go!

Today I also met someone in the Atlanta airport who told me that I sat next to his dad a year or two ago on a plane flight!! Isn’t that an amazing “coincidence”? Kyle said he was so glad that we met, and he knew that it was meant to be. I am so glad that I was in full time ministry mode when I left the house both today and nearly two years ago when I met Kyle’s father!

Last night, I had this incredible talk with a waiter. Justin grew up Catholic, but his girlfriend is Christian. He told me that she is trying to ‘get him saved!’ So we talked about what that meant, and why you need to do it. He had so, so many good questions. Oh, by the way, he wasn’t even my waiter! I am so glad that I was in full time ministry mode at the restaurant last night.

Moms and Dads: You are in full time ministry all day, every day with your kids.

Students and Teachers: You are in full time ministry all of the time as you interact with fellow students and teachers. One football player I know reads his Bible at his locker. He told me that so many times another player has walked over and asked what he was reading and that it leads to the most amazing conversations! I know one teacher who talks about Jesus in her classroom. She tells the kids if they want to get in depth about it to come to her room at 3:31—one minute after the bell rings! She told me that many times she has had a line of students at her door at the end of school!

Businessmen and women: You are in full time ministry mode representing the Lord when you do business in a Christian manner versus doing it the world’s way.

I know a doctor who witnesses to every single one of his patients!! I can’t tell you the number of doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors and business folks who have my books in their waiting rooms or lobbies for their patients or customers. I have heard from folks who have picked up a book at one of those places, and God used it to impact their lives.

Workers: You are in full time ministry every day. It is your job to share your faith and act like a Christian should in the workplace. When I was teaching at a Christian school, I hired a former professional baseball player to speak at an athletic banquet. As we spoke before the event, he told me that he worked for a cable company and laid cable. Inside, I was wondering, why do you do that? I, of course, thought that he was a millionaire from his pro baseball days, but then I started wondering how he had lost all his money. I shouldn’t have made that assumption. He looked at me and said, “I lay cable, because it gets me into people’s homes, so that I can talk to them about Jesus!” I can’t even begin to tell you how humbled I was. Here was this amazing, faithful man of God who stood for the Lord every single day in his ‘regular’ life. Why? Because he was in full time ministry mode everywhere he went.

A lady emailed the ministry recently and said that she had been struggling a lot with things in life. God sent her a Christian dishwasher repairman who witnessed to her and encouraged her. I am so glad that man realizes that he is in full time ministry.

Do you remember the great story of Jesus and the woman at the well? In John 4:6-10, it says:

“Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”

Jesus was tired from the journey. He stopped to sit and get a drink of water. But even when He was tired and thirsty, He was in full time ministry mode, and that allowed one of the greatest stories in all of Scripture to occur. Why? Because the soul of that woman was more important to Him than that drink of water!

The great story of Paul and Felix in the book of Acts has always fascinated me. When Paul got before Felix, he began to speak truth. Acts 24:24,25 states,

“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”

Paul was in full time ministry mode. He was going to speak truth to Felix no matter what. Of course, he wanted to be set free, but Felix and Drusilla’s souls were much, much more important to Paul at that point than his freedom.

As one of my friends puts it, ‘ministry is not an occupation but a commandment’! Remember that full time ministry isn’t working at a church or a seminary or traveling and speaking at conferences. I have known so many people who work at places like that who become completely stagnant. They lose their zeal; they lose their passion. Why? They are completely removed from lost people. They get away from the great thrill of planting seeds with the lost. Don’t let that happen to you! You do not want to be lukewarm. Remember that if you are born again and breathing, you are in full time ministry every day! It leads to a very fascinating and satisfying life.

Until the nets are full,

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