A Pastors Perspective, The Ministry


By: Mike Upchurch

In the Ministry

Sometimes people ask “Why are you in the Ministry?” Well, it’s sure not for the money. Everything I do, whether it be Chapel Services at a Racetrack as a Racers For Christ® Chaplain or praying with racers or serving in a church or even writing this column, is all done on a volunteer basis with no payment received. But no matter what I do, it is done with a very grateful heart! I’m very blessed and very grateful to be in a position to sometimes help, sometimes pray, sometimes serve, sometimes teach, and I don’t take that honor lightly. But the answer to the above question is quite simple…..

I’m not in the Ministry, the Ministry is in ME!

The Holy Spirit of God is in me! I have been grafted in and chosen to be a part of a Kingdom that, on my best day, I’m not worthy to be in. I was chosen by Him, yet growing up and later as an Adult, I never once thought I’d be serving Him in Ministry. I stopped running in 1998 though. I stopped fighting Him and started submitting and obeying, and it’s been a great ride and a very fulfilling ride so far.

Understand though, I never once felt I could do this. I never once had the confidence or the skill sets most Ministers need. I’m not polished. I’m a redneck basically. But I learned something early on after I finished Bible College and was ordained. I don’t have to be qualified to do this; HE qualifies me with what I need when I need it. And not before. He’s an on-time God. He won’t give us today what we won’t need until tomorrow, but you can rest assured it will be there then when you need it most! As a matter of fact, He would rather have an empty vessel to fill with His own agenda, rather than have us use ours! Whether it be speaking comforting words in a group prayer, or giving a eulogy at a Funeral, or writing a column like this, you will have what you need when you need it through Him. In writing this weekly column, many times I will sit down on a Thursday or Friday evening without a clue of what I will write about in order to meet Charlie’s Saturday morning deadline, but it comes. It always comes.

I’m not writing this to brag on me or what I’ve done. I’m sure that would be a short paragraph anyway. But I do want to brag on my Lord. He will use anyone, and if you believe there is a calling on your life, and you’ve yet to respond, this column is for you!

Please surrender and submit! Time is running out! Souls are dying without Christ. People all around you are hurting and YOU HAVE WHAT THEY NEED!! Don’t be filled with pride and resist Him because you might lose a few friends along the way. Don’t be fearful you’ll have to quit your job and you won’t have money. Don’t be fearful that you may have to stand in front of others. Don’t let ANY fears you have stand in the way of your surrendering. People are perishing. They are hurting. They are sick. They are broken. Don’t stand around idle while they need you! Yes, I waited a lifetime, and it took that long for me to finally hear Him, but you don’t have to wait! And don’t think Ministry means being a pastor. Very few of us are called to the office of Pastor. Being a minister can be something as simple as teaching a Sunday School class. Or perhaps going to Hospitals and offering to pray for people who are alone in their room. It can be mentoring kids. It can be holding a bible study or small group in your home. It can even be writing a column like this. Remember, the Ministry is in YOU! The Holy Spirit will lead you in the right direction. He will instruct you. He will equip you! It’s HIS work, He just wants you to partner with Him. So what are you waiting for? Say “Yes Lord, I will ride!!” You never know the fruit you may bear for Him and the good you might accomplish on this side of Eternity.

I had a very vivid dream years ago. Many years ago in fact, in the early eighties. In that dream I was preaching behind the pulpit of a very large church. I was really preaching up a storm in that dream, and I was amazed at the knowledge I seemed to have of the Bible. At the time of that dream, Ministry was the farthest thing from my mind! I was barely saved! My kids were younger then, and I was working in the Landscape Industry as an Estimator. I was also racing most Saturdays till the early morning hours and I didn’t always make it to church. At the time I laughingly thought “man, THAT will never happen.” But in that dream I was the Preacher and people were responding. It looked like there were about a thousand people in that church, and it sure wasn’t the church I was attending at that time. But I dismissed the dream as being nothing more than just a dream that would never come to pass.

Fast forward some 20 years later to 2003. I had taken a missionary trip to Peru with a team of evangelists (well, three evangelists and then newbie me). I had only been ordained a few months before and was still pretty green in Ministry. I had not preached to more than thirty or forty people at a time, and that must have been torture for those small groups of sweet souls. But on a Sunday night on the last night of our trip, I found myself preaching in a huge Assembly of God Church in Lima, Peru with over a thousand people in attendance. I preached in English while my good friend Pastor Rio from Trujillo, Peru interpreted in Spanish. We preached our hearts out. The people responded and it was a great service, with hundreds of people at the altar following my sermon. An amazing night with salvations, people healed, and others touched by God in miraculous ways! This was years before I would serve as a Pastor. I’m forever grateful for that experience! On the five hour flight home the next day, as I flipped through a journal I had kept of the 16 days our Team was there, I was once again reminded of the dream I’d had years before. I had foolishly thought that dream would never materialize, but God knew it would happen! He knew what He had planned for this redneck Missouri boy! Now I pay attention to every dream, storing them away and pondering what they might mean, but never again doubting!

So consider your own dreams. You have no idea which dreams might be Holy Spirit inspired, prophesying of what He intends to do! If you have dreamed of doing something big for God, it probably wasn’t you doing the dreaming anyway. It was probably Him showing you your future!! After all, the Ministry is in YOU!! So submit and be obedient to any calling there may be on your life! You have no idea what’s in store, and how much you’ll be able to accomplish with Him leading the way!

And that’s the way I see it!

Pastor Mike