Francis Schaffer has a collection of sermons titled, No Little People; No Little Places. I was introduced to the book as a 14-year-old who had surrendered to the gospel ministry.
At that time in my life, everyone felt I was a very unlikely candidate for ministry. I had problems pronouncing certain sounds that had caused me to be in speech therapy during all of my elementary school years. I was a below-average student in school, and the list of reasons for my not being a good possible preacher went on and on.
The only real hesitation on my part came when my mentor told me I should give up the idea and focus on being a good lay leader in the church. It was at this low point I discovered the Schaffer book and began to believe that with God, there are no little people and/or little places.
Not long after reading the book, the Lord placed another person in my life, the college minister of my church named Mike Thompson. He became the first to encourage me to follow what God had instructed my heart to do. He shared I Cor. 1:25-31; “Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence. But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, Who became God–given wisdom for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, in order that, as it is written; The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.”
He said something like, “You see, Alan, you may be the most likely candidate for God to call.”
I said, ”Thank you . . . I think?” (Had he just called me foolish, weak and insignificant?) All I know is the combination of these two events early in my calling allowed me to follow what God had put on my heart to do.
God is still calling out those He wills to preach the Gospel. I thank God for the men who answered that call early in life and have served Him vocationally through the years. I’m equally thankful that those who were discouraged or distracted in their calling have come back to answer that call later in life. This group makes up the majority of our bi-vocational pastors and pastors of our Smaller in Attendance Churches (SAC). (By the way, churches running under 100 make up the majority of our SBC churches)
To those men serving in our Smaller in Attendance churches, let me encourage you; there are NO little people and NO little places. God has called and placed you where you are. The work you do there is vital to The Kingdom of God. Don’t let anyone steal your calling or rob you of your joy.
I also want to encourage you to get to know Philip Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org, who is serving as our SAC strategist. There are many ways he can come alongside you to help you accomplish your task. Also, he can share with you how you can get some practical Christian ministry training online through the new Robert Haskins School of Christian Ministry.
Never forget, your entire Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma staff stands ready to assist you in any way.