A Note from Chris Adams: A dear friend and co-worker in ministry has written a powerful post for women in leadership. Whether you are in vocational ministry or serve as a layperson for the Kingdom, we ALL have an important calling from Christ. I know you will be blessed by her biblical approach to serving as a woman leading in His work. Stephanie Edge has given us some great things to consider and study in Scripture as we seek His calling in our lives.
God uses His Word to speak into our lives. As a women’s leader, I have been drawn to the words and message of Colossians 4:17, “Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord, so that you can accomplish it.” When someone calls for your attention, that action demonstrates the importance of what they are about to say. This passage contains a vital instruction for leaders.
Pay attention to your calling.
Focus on this ministry not only for a single moment in time, but as an ongoing mindset. Purpose and calling must be clear in order to accomplish a goal. The apostle Paul had a determined purpose for his life and ministry as seen in 1 Corinthians 9:26: “Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air.”
Ministry requires discipline and sacrifice.
Paul had a specific target in mind and disciplined his life to accomplish the ministry to which he had been called. “Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Paul demonstrated a seriousness and radical determination in his life perspective. “But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). Are there changes or decisions that you need to make to fulfill your calling? Are there areas in your life where you need a little extra discipline?
Distractions and obstacles are real.
Paul recognized the obstacles faced by the churches of Galatia. Some were teaching the necessity of circumcision rather than faith in Christ alone. Paul addressed and questioned the Galatians. “You were running well. Who prevented you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7). Potential obstacles to our calling come through a variety of means including difficult people, false teachings, or our own selfishness. Leaders must quickly identify and overcome whatever hinders. What distractions or obstacles are you currently facing?
Recognize the Lord as the source of your calling.
“Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord…” (Colossians 4:17). Paul recognized the source of his calling, “…the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus…” (Acts 20:24) There are different gifts, ministries, and activities, but the same Spirit, Lord, and God. God has called and equipped each believer to the work of building up the kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:1-11). Paul identified his ministry as testifying “to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). Likewise, we, as believers in Christ, are called to share the gospel, recognizing the Lord as the source and empowerment of our callings.
You can accomplish and fulfill your ministry through the power of Jesus Christ.
The parable of the vine and branches is found in John 15 and is applicable to ministry. Women’s ministry leaders cannot accomplish their ministries apart from Christ (John 15:5). Paul through the power of the Holy Spirit accomplished his calling. He declared, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). A much greater example of One who accomplished His ministry is the Lord Jesus Christ. “When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ Then bowing His head. He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).
Women’s ministry leaders must seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and accomplish their callings and ministries. Will you commit today to fulfill the work the Lord has prepared for you? (Ephesians 2:10)
“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Stephanie Edge is the Director of Women’s Ministry, Poplar Heights Baptist Church, Jackson, TN and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. Stephanie graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity She also completed a Masters of Theology and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Stephanie currently is an Associate Professor at Union University in Jackson, TN. She has a passion for God’s Word and ministering to women.