Motivation toward Ministry #2

We are talking about where our deepest motivations for ministry come from.

In Part#1, we talked about the difference between an external call and internal motivation.  We represented that dichotomy with a chart like this:

Now, take that piece of paper and draw a horizontal line on it, from left to right. Label the left hand side as "History" and the right hand side as "Future".

Does your deepest motivation come from the past or the future? 

At the Annunciation, Mary is informed by the angel that she has been chosen to bear the child Jesus. Clearly, an external call. And in her response, she remembers the promises made by God to her people from centuries ago. Her call is the fulfillment of ancient prophecy. Clearly, a call out of history. She also predicts the future as well. Is she also called from the future? 

Think about this: is your call the fulfillment of past developments? Do you find yourself saying "It seemed like my whole life was leading to the moment I applied to seminary?" Or, "I am taking my place in the living tradition of ministers of our kind that go back into history?" Or does a statement like "I knew that I had to step up if there was to be the kind of world I dream of for my children, or for the planet" make more sense to you? Or, "I am motivated by a dream of what liberal religion could be?"

Find yourself on the Horizontal Line.


  1. Tom, every year, I lead a workshop at GA titled, "Are You Thinking About the Ministry?" It is well attended, and having lead this workshop a dozen times, I'm moving away from the nuts and bolts approach, and leaning toward talking about more about call and motivation. Keith Kron helps with the reality check of what search and working in the ministry is like once seminary is over. You'd be a great addition to our panel...


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