Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Determining Christian Calling

QUESTION:

How can I know my area of Christian calling?

A.

ANSWER

A:

You ask a complicated question. First, I don’t know what your calling might be, nor do I know your background. God gives the calling, not me. However, let me give a few general principles that might help you determine your calling.

1. Know that God has a plan and place for you, because, “He works all things after the counsel of His will” (Philippians 1:11). In due time, He will show you.

2. God’s plan is to develop you as a person. Paul teaches that He wants us, “to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:28). Again, Paul teaches, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12). 

He is developing us in the area of our character, relationships with others, wisdom, and faith. Of course, the starting place is to be a born again Christian through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection to save you from the penalty of your sins and possess eternal life.

3. God is also developing us for effective service to Him. This is seen in the Great Commandments, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). The first part deals with the development as a person, the second part points to service to others. 

4. The major overall purpose and goal of the church is to Glorify God, and to follow our marching orders in the Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19, 20). This gives us a twofold objective: evangelism and discipleship.

This service area is summed up by Paul, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). 

This, then, gives us the overall picture God has for our lives. Within this framework, it is our job to discover our niche in God’s plan for our lives. Where do we fit in God’s grand purpose?

5. The first step is to discover and develop the spiritual gifts He has given you, that is, your abilities (1 Corinthians12:4-11). The key here is to get involved in Christian work, and discern what you like to do, what you are good at, and what people recognize are your abilities. Develop through training, experience and time those God given abilities.

Next, look at the resources God has given you. For example, do you have adequate training in the Bible and ministry? Do you have funding, or a group of people who respond to your leadership, for example? 

Next, look for the opportunities God has given you. It might be to teach a Sunday School class, it may be evangelism, or a group to organize for a special mission, or a sum of money to help out in a mission project.

You must be faithful to what God has given to you, “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy” (1 Corinthians 4:1, 2). Be faithful in the little things He gives you to do, then when He finds that He can trust you, He will give you bigger things. 

In other words, you look at your abilities, resources, and opportunities – then strike out and see where God blesses your work. Presupposed, of course, is genuine desire prayer to God in seeking His will. Look around, and start doing what needs to be done to advance the cause of Christ. Some things you will fail at, but that is the process of finding areas of success. 

Paul describes this process, “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:5, 6).

6. If you are considering a call to the ministry as a pastor, Bible teacher, evangelist, or missionary, then know that is a special calling from God. To recognize that call can be tricky. Two principles have helped me. First, the pastor who led me to Christ told me that if there is anything else in the world I desired to do, then forget about getting into the ministry.

The second principle is that the calling of God is like a persistent, lingering inner urging over time that you simply must preach the Gospel as a pastor. It is as Paul said, “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16). 

If you are called to the ministry, other people will recognize that calling in you, as you involve yourself in Christian service. For example, start something like a small Bible study group, or try street preaching, and see what happens. See what God blesses.

I recall when I was working my way through college, and doing janitor work, odd jobs, and teaching a Sunday School class at the church I attended. One day a person in my small class came to me and said, “You know, you would make a good pastor.” This was about in the year, 1970 – some 40 years ago.

I went on to pursue seminary training, and then was called to a pastor a church where God gave me success. Though my life has taken unexpected turns, I have served as a pastor, missionary, and teacher of Bible and theology. I still have that feeling of a specific call on my life.

7. Our motives in serving Christ are important. We must not seek leadership to make more money, or have greater status, or puff ourselves up with pride. Peter put it this way, “shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2, 3).

8. Regarding the ministry, you must have a basic amount of Bible, theology, and leadership training. The three main areas of the pastor are teaching/preaching, administration, and counseling or pastoral care. Paul wrote, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:35).

Aladeokin, I hope this help you. All the best, and God bless. If God has called you to the ministry --- go for it!! I would recommend that you take the courses here at Newman Bible Academy, and read all the books and free material on the site. 

Dr. Newman

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