The author of this book, Reverend Alice J. Dise, gives practical step-by-step instruction on accepting the call of God. The scripture used, Luke 4:18-19 is a vital part of this book. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The key phrases that Reverend Dise wanted the reader to take away from this opening chapter is “GOD and ME”. The call to ministry starts with God. God does the calling, God does the anointing, God enables, God’s power will prevail and it’s God who will send ME. This is the Minister’s affirmation. Reverend Dise suggests that you read the Minister’s affirmation regularly. This will help to keep your focus on the direction that God wants you to go.
The question that many have is how do I know I am called? Many are not sure of their calling because they are expecting a “Damascus Road” experience in their lives. The author gives clarity to the fact that everyone will not receive the call in a dramatic way. We reviewed several that had totally different experiences. Jeremiah was one. He was called at an early age, and his message was one that was a difficult one to give. He didn’t want to do it because he didn’t feel equipped to do it. Yet he did what God asked him to do. We read about Mary Adam Wilson that had dreams about her preaching. And even though it was not received well because she was a woman, she continued on the path that God had set for her. We read about the Apostle Paul, who had an encounter with Christ on a mission for his Jewish faith. He was in pursuit of getting rid of Christians, but Christ changed his mind and his mission. And then finally we read about Simon and Andrew. Christ called them while they were doing their jobs. He called them to another profession. They went from being fishers to fishers of men.
One of the main themes present in each chapter is that God is your source of success. The author wants the reader to understand that God expects those that He calls to give of them selves. The called are accountable to the owner (God) and have a responsibility to fulfill his will. We are also told that we need not be afraid. We are told to do our best. God has promised to be with us and we have to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.
Commitment. God calls us to do His will. Whether it is to teach, preach or minister in another way, we have to commit to doing His will. So in our hearing of God’s call we must commit or accept the call. The next step is acknowledgment of the call. This is when we tell others as well as acknowledge within ourselves the call. We must count the cost for this commitment. This is making a prayerful appraisal of what this will require from me. It also requires preparation of the inner person. This begins with prayer, reading of the Word of God, and meditation. As Reverend Alice J. Dise states, “God must be allowed to speak to the minister before the minister can speak to others.” (p. 33) Commitment requires discipline. That is effort, time and purpose. Commitment also requires study and lastly action on the part of the minister.
This book, Responding to the call of ministry, is full of helpful instruction. This is most important for the new or even experienced minister in leading worship. The author says that God must be the center of our worship, and everything revolves around God. We must praise God; we must pray to God, and we must proclaim God as Savior and Lord. And then we must respond to God by either our dedication or affirming what we know to be true. Even though different churches may have different aspects to the worship service, they should all have the same purpose. That purpose is to honor God.
As a minister leading in worship we must make sure that we set a good example. We must be on time, be prepared, be focused and be alert to lead. To prepare for leading worship, we must have a time of prayer and meditation before the Lord. This book also contains information regarding visiting the sick and leading one to Christ. The detailed steps tell you what things are appropriate to say when you visit the sick. The main steps are being alert to what is going on, pray for the sick, don’t stay to long, don’t make judgment remarks, and most importantly be a good listener to know what the person stands in need of.
In leading the unsaved to Christ, the list is helpful in taking the steps needed to do the job. This section lists the answer to questions that may be asked by the unsaved. For example what must I do to be saved, can I be saved and how can I be saved? The author not only lists the answers but also the scripture that gives those answers.
In conclusion, this book is one that every person that has the question about ministry could use. It gives you the information that you need to know if in fact God is calling you to ministry. The author also encourages everyone not to try and fit a mold, but be the person that God has for you to be. She encourages us to be unique. This is a book that helps you to see that it is God that is the source of your ministry. You must seek Him for His direction in your ministry. The most important words in this book are written in part one with the scripture Luke 4:18-19, the Ministers Affirmation. It is God and Me. God has called me to ministry. God’s anointing is upon me enabling me to minister. God’s power will prevail whenever, wherever, and to whomever God sends me to minister. This is where the minister can find his strength. This is what will give the minister the courage and the ability needed to do this job. This will help both the new minister as well as the seasoned minister to say, yes to the call. It was through this book that the Lord was able to help me see he too was calling me to the ministry. I would suggest to anyone in ministry to obtain a copy of this book.