You feel God is calling you to something, you just wish you knew what that something was. How do you know if a role in ministry or missions is part of His plan for your life?
God’s desire for us leaps from the pages of Scripture when He invites all people to come and worship Him and to be involved in His great plan of redemption in this world. He calls us to absolute faith and a servant-like obedience to Him – for the joy set before us. Obeying seems straightforward enough, but understanding how best to obey can be a challenge.
God’s Ministry Call
Does God call only certain people for special service? The question we ask is, “Can He use me in His movement to reach all nations?” The Bible gives many examples of people called out of everyday situations for special service to the Lord. Abraham, Moses, David, the prophets, the apostles, and Paul clearly belong on such a list. Sometimes the “call” was dramatic. For others, like Isaiah and Barnabas, the call began in a general way and then took specific form. In these two cases, worship was at the center of specific assignments.
For many others, the assignment begins with the recognition of a need. Often it grows out of faithful service in what seems to be a small and unimportant ministry situation. No matter how the Lord brings a person to missionary service, some factors are almost always constant. First and foremost, a call is always eventually confirmed by others. Secondly, any task will be set in the context of objective and subjective criteria.
There are some objective factors to consider in view of the imbalance in the Christian work force between North America and most foreign countries:
- Am I aware of the human needs beyond my immediate local view?
- Do I see the need worldwide?
- Do I have a passion to obey God’s call to disciple the nations?
- What are my spiritual gifts and abilities?
- How consistent is my walk with God?
- What is my track record in actual ministry?
- Do I have the interpersonal skills necessary for cross-cultural ministry?
- Do I have adequate training to fulfill my ministry potential?
- How are my physical health and energy levels?
On the subjective side, ask these questions:
- Have I given this matter concentrated prayer?
- Do I have a sense of assurance from the Holy Spirit?
- Do I have a sense that God is prompting me?
- Have I seen circumstantial evidence of God’s leading?
It is impossible to set a formula to weigh the importance of each of these factors. For each person, the mix will be different, but many of these criteria will be present. Do not be overwhelmed. Under the rules of grace, you may select among any of several right answers.
God is most interested in righteousness and the character of the person seeking the call. A “call” often starts with curiosity. Curiosity leads to interest. Information gathered through interest can lead to the third step, understanding. As the scope, reality, theology and meaning of missionary service are understood, there comes an assurance that God is in this and that such service may be a very real possibility. This assurance, shared with others, reviewed before the word and prayed about under the leading of the Holy Spirit, will become a conviction. Service is a must. Conviction will bring commitment.
Now, there is no retreat. The committed heart will lead to specific action for preparation to go.
For the joy set before us as His servants, for the blessing of serving the Master with our full attention, to be a part of venturing out to the highways and byways to be a part of the task to share the good news; you may be separated from loved ones, lose Western conveniences, engage in the task of learning a second language – all out of a burning desire to communicate to those the Lord loves through you.
You may be the odd one in a new culture and work with limited resources to see the power of the cross first hand. These are just a few of the realities of missionary life, whether working somewhere in the missions infrastructure in the United States or directly with foreign nationals. But be encouraged, you are following God’s call for your life!
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–From the MissionNext Forum Handbook–