March 19, 2012 Vicki Ohlerking

So often I find myself feeling unqualified of the privilege of helping minister to the Church. I am 25 years of age, unmarried, have yet to finish college and have had no prior experience in helping plant and pastor a church. Three and a half years ago my good friends and mentors, Ben and Katie Brinkman, said they were going to go plant a church and asked if I would consider coming with them. When I answered “yes,” I had no idea what people truly meant by the phrase, “the weight or burden of the ministry.” I figured they just meant that it was challenging and would be difficult at times. What I did not realize is that more often than not I would be challenged, more than any difficult circumstance, by this feeling of unworthiness to be God’s servant.

In 1 Corinthians 15:9 Paul says, “For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.” Before moving to San Diego to help start Urban Church I had read this and thought “Yeah right.” After all Paul wrote more than half of the New Testament, was greatly used by God to establish the early church and to raise up leaders to continue to lead the church long after he was gone. Obviously, Paul of all people was worthy. If that wasn’t enough not only was he greatly used by God, but he was also extremely intelligent, he knew the law thoroughly, and followed the law. He was the definition of “qualified” in my book. It amazes me that in his eyes he felt unworthy to be called a leader of the church.

Three and a half years later I understand his words a bit more. He goes on to say in 1 Corinthinas 15:10, “But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.” Paul understood that he was unworthy it was not just a feeling that would pass. Instead of wallowing in feelings of unworthiness, Paul realized that whatever he did for the kingdom and whatever he amounted to as a person was because of God’s special and
undeserved favor. Because of this, Paul would make sure that God’s favor had results. He worked and served relentlessly in order to further the kingdom, yet understood that it was not because of his power but by God’s power working through him by His grace.

Those unworthy feelings were then turned into confidence and expectation when looked at through the lens of God’s unmerited favor and grace. One of the leadership books I have been reading by J. Oswald Sanders said
this: “Spiritual leadership is not a calling we choose to pursue; it is a calling we choose to answer. We don’t decide to become leaders; we decide to respond and keep responding to God’s call in our lives.”

However unworthy you might feel at times to serve alongside the Lord in building his church do not let this hinder you in responding to his call daily. Every weekend as I serve God, I am continually reminded of the privilege it is to be able to serve him no matter how big or small the task. Instead of focusing on how unqualified I am, I think of how awesome it is that God chooses to use people to reach his children. God does not need us, but God loves us enough to involve us in his purposes. You did not choose God, God chose you according to his special purposes. God has poured out his special favor on you and it should not be without results.

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work
enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever
useless.” 1 Cor. 15:58

Written by, Alayna Mills
Alayna Mills serves as a part of the leadership team for Urban Church in San Diego. When she is not serving at Urban Church or working her full-time job with Bank of America, she can be found cooking family dinners for friends or training for her fourth half marathon.

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