The Call to Ministry
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they who build it labour in vain.” Psalm 127:1
It is important to start by determining if God is calling you into ministry. Carefully and prayerfully consider the suggestions of this section.
Hearing the Call
There may be several factors that lead you to consider involvement in ministry to homosexuals. It is important to sort out which are valid and which are not. And to discern what is really from the Lord, and what is from the flesh. Consider the following:
1. The Need - Almost without a doubt there is a need for ministry to homosexuals in your area. According to the latest surveys, an average of three to five percent of the people in Western countries deal with a homosexual orientation. Many of these people are in the churches and struggle alone with little hope. Many others don't know Jesus and consider the conservative Christian church to be the enemy of the gay community.
Few resources exist anywhere to help homosexuals who want to change. Even in cities where there is already an "ex-gay" ministry, the potential for ministry far exceeds the resources of the existing ministry.
But recognizing the need is not the same as receiving God's call. Seeing the need may be the first step in being called but not necessarily so. We all see the need to feed the hungry or the need to take the Gospel to foreign lands, but there must be a specific calling to each ministry. However, seeing the need can certainly be one sign that you have a call to minister to homosexuals.
2. The Gifts - Preparation for ministry may be going on long before an individual is aware of the ministry to which he or she is called. That's because God gives the gifts, and He has always known which ministry He would call you to. If you have certain gifts that would be of great use in ministry to homosexuals, again, this could be another sign of the call.
What gifts are we talking about? A person should certainly look at the lists of gifts in the New Testament -- both the natural and the supernatural (1 Corinthians 12:4-11 and 12:28). Primarily, the gifts required would be those needed for counselling (exhortation), teaching, pastoring, and administration.
3. The Desire - A desire can be placed in us by the Lord, or it can come from the flesh. Often, it's difficult to know where it comes from. See the "Are Your Motives Pure?" section that follows to search out possible desires that are from the flesh.
Although we can mislead ourselves in this area, desire can be an important indicator of the call. God usually gives a person a heart burden for those to whom he or she is called to minister. If you have a true longing to see homosexual strugglers set free, if you have a powerful conviction that the Church needs to evangelize the gay community, and you want to be a part of that effort, these factors may be signs of your call.
Seeing the need, possessing the gifts, and having the desire can all be signs that you have been called, but they are still not the call itself. There must be a clear sense that Christ is calling you to this ministry, an inner knowing that holds up over time and which you can test.
Next, your ministry focus.