When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he [Jesus] said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:36-38.
There is a danger of complacency in conservative evangelical churches. It is a complacency that manifests itself by failing to take seriously the imperative of the Lord Jesus Christ here, to pray for competent labourers to be raised up in the church. There is a vain assumption that Christian ministers are always available, as it were "on tap". This is wrong. The church need to pray for, identify, train, equip and support competent and called men for Christian ministry.
From a biblical and Reformed point of view we need an educated ministry where men are trained in essay writing in a range of systematic and historical topics, the biblical languages of Greek and Hebrew, and with front line pastoral internships to ensure that they are 'rooted and grounded". Essay writing is an important skill as it helps a man to argue a point which is what preaching involves, though preaching is an oral event. A man needs to have proven himself in the church, not least to be able to preach before he can consider ministry and this testing process is vital and it should be carried out responsibly by local elders and a presbytery.
Do you pray for labourers to be raised up? Do you cry out to the Lord of the harvest for shepherds to be called and sent forth? If not why not? It is costly to train men in terms of time, money, sacrifice and the energy involved, but what happens if we shrink back in this area? I preached a sermon yesterday on this subject and the link is: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=515161535540
If you sense a call to Christian ministry in a solid doctrinal context, then I would love to hear from you and please contact me via our church website (www.sheffieldpres.org.uk)