The term "vocational ministry" is most often used to describe a career in which someone is paid to work full-time in some type of Christian organization, as a pastor, or as a missionary.
"Vocation" comes from a root word meaning "calling." Some dictionaries define it as a passion or strong impulse toward a particular activity or career. Many times one's vocation overlaps with their career, but not always. "Ministry" means "service." In a Christian context, we usually think of ministry as service to God. Some use the phrase "Christian ministry" to describe church-related activities. But in truth, all Christians are called to minister, and we do so in every area of our lives. Colossians 3:23–24 says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."
So while "vocational ministry" usually refers to the work done by a person who makes their living through some sort of church-related work, all Christians have a type of vocational ministry. That vocation may or may not contribute to their finances, and it may or may not be immediately recognizable as "Christian." Ephesians 2:10 tells us that "we are [God's] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." God has placed a call on the lives of each of His children. When we are obedient to His call on our lives and walk in it with an attitude of service, we are doing vocational ministry.
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