The Weekly Epistle 1/31/24

The Why of Discipleship
Week Two: Why We Call the Unqualified

Greetings Living Hope Family,

We’ve heard it so many times that, to our weary ears, it’s almost cliché: 

             Jesus didn’t call the best of the best.
             Jesus didn’t call the best-trained scholars.
             Jesus didn’t call the best orators.
             Jesus called a bunch of uneducated fishermen. 

What Jesus modeled, the Apostle Paul explained. 

 “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise         according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has   chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has         chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 

Yet despite our general familiarity with what Jesus modeled and Paul taught, the modern church is enamored with professionalism in ministry. We tend to look for the mighty, noble, wise, and strong to lead the ministries of the church. For sure, there is something to advanced training in ministry. Both Pastor Brian and I are seminary-trained. While that training gives us an edge, it would be detrimental for us to be considered the professionals among you. On this point, John Piper explains, 

“The mentality of the professional is not the mentality of the prophet. It is not the mentality of the slave of Christ. Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and the heart of the Christian ministry. The         more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake. For the professional childlikeness, there is no                     professional tenderheartedness, there is no professional panting after God.” 

Pastor Brian and I are no more called to be disciples than anyone who attends Living Hope. We are all called to follow. We are all called to be ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Eph 4:12). Should we all grow in our calling? Absolutely! Such growth is discipleship. However, we must stop short of calling anyone a professional. For when we prop up a select few as professionals, we risk excluding the very type of people Jesus wants to call. 

I got pushback when I announced that Dylan Treamer would be the new leader of Momentum Student Ministries. “Is he qualified?” was a common question asked by concerned individuals. My answer to this question was simple. “He is infinitely more qualified than the more qualified person who is unwilling to serve.” The elder’s decision to entrust Momentum to Dylan was not predicated on his gifts but his willingness to serve. 

On this point, I want to be clear: we didn’t just throw Dylan into the deep end of the pool and walk away. I spent two years working closely with Dylan. In the first year, we co-led Momentum. In the second year, Dylan led, and I coached. Just this year, Adam Hayes has taken on the role of Dylan’s ministry coach with a particular emphasis on lesson prep and teaching. 

Dylan was no more than twelve years old when I started here at Living Hope—not even old enough to attend youth ministry—and now he’s leading the youth ministry. He’s grown up in our midst, and Jesus is doing a mighty work through him, but that’s only because we made room for Jesus to do a mighty work in him. 

Jesus didn’t call the qualified. Jesus qualified the called.

Living Hope, let us look within. 

Let us look to those whose discipleship has been entrusted to us. 
 Let us raise up boys and girls, men and women, for the work of the       ministry. 

Pastor Dan