Vocational Ministry’s Forbidden Question

Inspiration, Podcast

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Church leaders, have you ever asked yourself the forbidden question in ministry? You know the one—it goes something like this, “Am I really made for this?”

If you have, then you likely felt some level of frustration, guilt, shame or condemnation toward yourself right away.

You probably chastised yourself with the natural defensive response, of course knowing the “right” answers. “I’m in ministry. I’m a Pastor. I asked for this. I trained for this. I should know that I am made for this.”

Yet, as the forbidden question echos through your heart and mind, a follow-up question may occasionally slip through too, “Should I really be asking myself this question?”

I feel your pain, my friend. I have been there many more times than I would care to admit.

Years ago, I asked this forbidden question from the outside looking in, wondering if my role in the corporate world would ever open a door into full-time ministry.

Then I asked this forbidden question countless times while working in full-time ministry—even as a “successful” executive and teaching pastor at a large non-denominational church.

I asked this forbidden question after twice leaving full-time ministry to re-energize my career in the often misunderstood arena of marketplace ministry.

You see, the question, “Am I really made for this?” is a forbidden question for a reason. It is, by nature, a doubt-inducing question; one that creates doubt in yourself, and even casting doubt toward you from anyone you dare share it with.

Worse, it’s a question that can elicit a deep sense of feeling stuck or lost, if not being completely stalled out or totally burned out.

The work of the ministry can be challenging on the best days.  Yet, when this forbidden question surfaces within you, it becomes even more difficult to lift others up, while its daily weight attempts to pin you down.

Answering the Question

If you’ve asked yourself this forbidden question, and you’re wrestling with the answer to whether ministry is your long-term vocation, realize that the struggle is an important part of the journey— a journey worthy of your effort as you seek an answer.

So, let’s examine the aspects of answering yes or no.

If you try to answer with a yes, there are a load of additional variables and questions that arise. Is that “yes” for this season in life?  Is that “yes” for this specific church, fellowship, or ministry?  Is that “yes” for this specific role?  Is that “yes” for this specific role, but in a different culture or geographical location?  Or, is the “yes” that you have always known all of a sudden no longer valid based on how your life, family, and ministry have changed since your first began?

Now, let’s assume you attempt to answer with, “No, I’m not really made to do this.” On the surface, this feels much more clear, crisp, and clean.  But moving forward from there is equally as complex as the “yes” answer.

If the answer is no, then you might ask yourself, “When did it change from “yes” to “no?”  “Was it ever truly a “yes” in the first place?” Did I miss God?  Did I change?  Did God change? Do I even have what it takes to truly do ministry well anyway?

The truth is that questioning whether you are made for long-term ministry vocation can feel overwhelming.  It requires a journey through a challenging labyrinth of variables and unseen factors, all against the backdrop of an unknown future, and perhaps some misinterpretation of the past and even the present.

And, this is a problem.

It is a problem because most likely, you lack a framework or strategy of how to navigate all of those variables, unknowns, and interpretations with any sense of success.  And, that’s why you feel so stuck, stressed, and even trapped.

So, you’re at an impasse between yes and no, with a significant problem in your way.

What now?

A Solution

Here’s the thing—In reality, you don’t actually need an answer to the forbidden question.  Instead, you need to discover a genuine solution to your problem.  Questions need answers, but a problem requires a solution.

You need a solution that provides you with a framework to help you get immense clarity on the past, present, and future realities working in your life.  When you have this type of clarity, it produces confidence in your life—the confidence you need to answer that question.

You also need a solution that provides you with a strategy to help you discover and articulate your talents, passions, values, purpose, and vision for your life.  All of these things create the type of courage you need to commit deeper into or leap further away from your current ministry role.

Finally, you need a solution that provides you with a pathway to get “unstuck” and to develop genuine momentum in your life.

As the solution elevates you into clarity, purpose, and momentum, the answer to that forbidden question will powerfully reveal itself.

The truth is this—the power of a right solution will give you more than simply an answer—it can lead you to experience a genuine breakthrough in your career and in your life.

So, how do you take the next steps in considering your future in vocational ministry?

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years.

  1. Go ahead and bravely ask yourself that forbidden question.  It just might be the most important question you ever ask yourself.
  2. Prayerfully seek one person in your life that you can trust with this question, especially if they have an ability to guide you through a framework and a strategy that can provide a breakthrough solution.
  3. Finally, if that one person doesn’t currently exist in your life, you need to take a step of faith to find that person as soon as possible.  The journey is infinitely more meaningful and powerful with a mentor and companion to guide you.

As you embrace the truth that your life, your future, and your impact is worth seeking a breakthrough solution, prepare to be amazed at all that God wants to reveal to you as you dare to ask a question that really shouldn’t be so forbidden after all.


Jeff Rasor is the Founder & CEO of the Blue Sky Academy, where he offers unique and powerful coaching programs to guide professionals and pastors to experience breakthrough in their careers and in life.  Jeff is also the author of “Where Breakthrough Happens – Discover How the Power of Clarity, Purpose, & Momentum Will Set You Free to Reach Your Dreams.”

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