Equating your Calling
The word “calling” rings familiar for almost every person in ministry. It is typically used in a sentence similar to this: “I feel called to full-time ministry” or “At the altar I felt the call to youth ministry”. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, at times we as the church present our calling as some ambiguous target that is floating in the cosmos. We have people in our congregations that think the word “calling” only applies to ministers and that their job in the marketplace hinders them from receiving a calling for their life. Recently I came across a definition that has revolutionized the way that I approach the idea of calling. Allow me to share it with you:
Calling is the place where your talents and passions intersect. Think about it and let it sink in. If we are honest with ourselves, our calling is exactly that! We instinctively are passionate about a specific purpose: leading the next generation, preaching the truth of God’s word, growing healthy Godly children, etc. Then we evaluated our skills and the skills needed to accomplish that goal: great communicator, strong organizer, wise counselor, overly optimistic, etc. These two areas intersected somewhere in our heart, we were open to hear God’s prodding, and we were humble enough to allow Him to use us… Calling! So when placed in that context it doesn’t seem so mystical and unattainable. Also, the powerful part of this equation is that no longer does this apply to just church ministry. For your young leaders who are struggling to find their place in this world, revealing to them that their calling does not lie in only full time vocational ministry but rather in whatever area God has created them for. Sure, we all mention this from our pulpits but what if we truly painted a picture of what their calling could look like. For instance: A young man working in a sales firm is struggling with how he fits into serving God completely with his life. If you are able to present to him that his skills in sales and leading others when matched with his passion to see young business leaders changing the marketplace with honesty and loyalty is actually his calling; I believe that is the kind of information that would change someone’s perspective. No longer is his job simply a 9 to 5, but it is his mission field. His viewpoint changes from getting things done at work to exploring every opportunity to change a peer’s life through his calling to change the marketplace from the inside out. His calling has been activated!
So how do you discover that place where your passion and talent meet? I think you define what each of those terms look like. Passion, to me, is as simple as what do you notice first when you walk into a new environment?
Do you notice what type of people are there, do you recognize the presentation and production of that environment or meeting, do you sit on the edge of your seat as the communicator begins and evaluate his approach. What do you take mental notes about? What do you go home and evaluate and grade and decide what you would change if you did it? For me, I immediately am drawn to the presentation. Which leads me to evaluate how the environment made me feel and how people responded to it. For my wife, she finds the people who look most uncomfortable and evaluates how the host changes that discomfort. This drives whether or not she enjoys the event or get together. Everyone’s passion is different. What gets your heart pumping? What injustice do feel needs to be corrected? What keeps you up at night? Discover your passion and your have solved half of the equation.
Secondly, talent is the other half of this equation. This can be as simple or as complicated as you allow it to be. I love the way Andy Stanley says it: “What do you do that no one else can do? That’s what is valuable to your organization.” I couldn’t say it any better. What do you do that you walk away from and feel accomplished? What do you do that boosts the value of your organization, business, church, or marketplace? Discover that and all that is left is find where these two meet.
As the people in your organization or congregation discovers their passions and talents, and you lead them to be open to hear from God, you’ll be ahead of the game in helping your people find their calling. No longer will it be some mysterious life that only few can find. It will become an ever growing lifestyle that is led by God. As their passions and talents change through time, they will have the ability to find where they intersect with God’s perfect plan in that season of their life. Let’s begin to equip those that follow us with the tools to be able to accomplish exactly what God wants them to. Show them how to find their Calling.