FIRST-PERSON: Calling out the called

by Hance Dilbeck, posted Thursday, May 17, 2018 (5 months ago)

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) -- The local church is the pillar and support of the Gospel truth. The health and strength of the local church depends on the ministry of its pastor. We need more people-loving, Bible-preaching, holy-living, soul-winning pastors.

The call of God is a fascinating reality to me. God calls a man to serve as a pastor. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, but it is also the work of the church.

Often the members of the body know first. They see a man of moral qualification, spiritual depth and practical ability. They sense in the man a burden for the church and a zeal for the truth of the Gospel. Thus, the "call to preach" is both personal and corporate.

We need to call out the called.

In 1914, L.R. Scarborough, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, published "Recruits for World Conquest," and copies were distributed across the Southern Baptist Convention. On Sunday, Oct. 26, 1919, pastors all across the SBC challenged people to respond to God's call to be ministers of the Gospel. They gave invitations with that specific goal, and more than 15,000 people surrendered their lives to service. That famous day was given the name, "Calling Out the Called."

The Lord calls people to be pastors, missionaries and ministers. The church works to call out the called. Let us be diligent in teaching people that God gives some to be pastor/teacher. Let's elevate and honor the work of the shepherd of God's flock, echoing the apostle Paul who said, "If any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work that he desires to do" (1 Timothy 3:1). Let's encourage one another to pray for the Lord's clear calling, praying to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His fields.

Let's challenge people to listen, to imagine the possibility of God's call, to embrace the blessing of a life spent building up the church and advancing the Gospel.

Let's work together to call out the called.

O Lord, raise up an army of pastors to feed, lead and care for Your flock, so Your churches might be strong and healthy, and the Good News of Jesus will spread to our neighbors and the nations.

Hance Dilbeck is executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
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