Why Calling Must Matter to Christian Leaders
Back in 2005, I was sitting in a church service in Muncie, IN and I heard God tell me that I should be a pastor. After hearing this, I immediately told my wife who confirmed that call in my life. In the weeks and months after that several others confirmed it as well. I then took steps to move in that direction by enrolling in seminary and speaking with pastors to uncover what it would take to align my life with God’s calling for me.
In 2011 I was hired as a full-time pastor at the church where I currently serve. It was a long road with many ups and downs and obstacles along the way, but I am exactly where I believe God has called me.
Romans 12 says: “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
You see, God has gifted each of us uniquely, and for those of us that have the gift of leadership – we have been called to use those gifts. Whether it’s in the workplace, in our home, at our church, or in our neighborhood. God expects us to use that gift and in order to most effectively use it, He will call us into our ministry.
Prior to 2005 and even in the years between 2005 and 2011, I believe that God called me to use my leadership gift in many different places. This includes in the hotel business where I was in management or in higher education where I was the president of a college campus. In each of these “ministries” I came to realize that my calling, as a Christian leader, must matter to me. Here’s why:
- My calling motivates me. I don’t know about you, but there are days where I don’t want to go into work. I’m tired. I’ve got a meeting that I’m dreading. I’ve got “better” things I want to do. I don’t feel like I’m doing a good job. There are so many reasons…
But, when I think about my calling, it motivates me to go to work. Because when I frame my work around my calling and a Higher Purpose, it puts all of those excuses into perspective. My career isn’t about me. My job doesn’t exist so I can be happy. The hours that I put in are about God and bringing glory to His name.
Colossians 3:23 says: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”
- My calling anchors me. Ever been criticized at work? Ever been yelled at by a customer? Ever received hate mail? Ever had a bad review by a supervisor? Ever been discouraged about the job you’re doing? Yeah, me too. And those things can make you question whether or not you’re in the place that God’s wants you.
But, my calling tells me that I’m exactly where God wants me to be. When those thoughts of a career change enter my mind, I think about the fact that God equipped me and called me to the place that I’m at now. If I waste that or turn my back and run, then I am, in essence, telling God that He doesn’t know what He’s doing.
Romans 12:2 tells us that God’s will is “good, pleasing and perfect.”
- My calling guides me. I’ve been in that place more times than I can remember where I find myself wondering “what’s next?” It can be as simple as a decision I’m trying to make or as complex as a major move with my career and/or family. It’s a tough place to be. And, if I am trying to make that decision on my own – without considering God and my calling – then I will miss the mark every time.
Our calling guides us towards and through those “what’s next” decisions. Discerning what’s next through the lens of our calling makes the choice clearer and easier. When opportunities come along that are in alignment with the way we’ve been gifted and called, it’s a clear sign that God has opened a door for us.
Proverbs 16:9 says: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Question: What about you? Have you found this to be true in your leadership? What other ways have to seen calling and leadership connect?
About the Author (Guest Post):
Currently the Executive Pastor at First Assembly Community Ministries in Lafayette, IN, Tim is also a gifted teacher, speaker, and consultant. In addition to working in the church, Tim has also held positions in Higher Education, Hospitality, and Retail. He is married to the love of his life; Consuela and they have 3 children. Check out his blog: www.timparsons.me or connect with him on Twitter @pastortimp.