Ministry Leadership

2 Questions to Help You Discover Your Calling

Discover-Your-callingI spent most of my 20s floundering around, trying to figure out what I was “supposed” to do with my life. Actually, from the outside, it probably didn’t look much like floundering (I went to college, graduate school and got a great job). But on the inside, I felt lost. Chaotic. Confused. And really curious as to what it meant to find my “true calling.”

So by the time I was in my mid-20s, I had followed all the rules of adult life and had many of the things a “grown-up” was supposed to have, but I still didn’t feel like my life had deep meaning.

I still didn’t know what I was here for.

What was my calling? Did God give everyone a calling? How was I supposed to find mine?

Inspired by the story of the Rich Young Ruler and encouragement from a friend, I quit my job, sold everything I owned, moved out of my apartment and set off on a road trip to discover my true calling. I learned so much while I traveled, but perhaps the most important thing I learned was what it means to discover a deep and meaningful purpose for your life.

Based on that experience, here are two questions I think you can ask yourself if you want to discover what God has called you to do.

1. What am I passionate about? I was always so scared to ask this question—or to answer it—because although I would call myself a passionate person, my passions sort of scared me. If I were to follow my passions—really follow them—where would they lead me?

I wasn’t sure.

And besides, weren’t passions kind of selfish and frivolous? Wasn’t I supposed to chase what God wanted for my life instead of what I wanted? Wasn’t that what being a Christian was all about?

What I discovered when I started to uncover my passions—and admit them—was that my desires and dreams could actually act like a window to what God wanted for me. Talking about my passions helped to unlock my purpose in life.

For me, this looked like quitting my job to chase my lifelong dream of traveling across the country and writing a book about it. And yes, in the beginning, the “passion” was a little bit crazy and unbridled and even a tiny bit selfish.

But as I submitted my passion to God and invited Him into the journey with me, the passion has grown and matured to be something deep and beautiful and lasting. And it continues to grow in this way, as long as I allow him to be part of it.

2. Where do I see my passion changing others? This is important because if I ask the first question without asking the second question, I might end up chasing my “dream” of becoming a singer/songwriter.

And why not? I love to sing in the shower and the car and into my bedroom mirror with my brush as a microphone.

I assure you, if I were to chase that passion, the world would not be a better place. I mean, I love to sing, but I love to sing far more than other people love to listen to me sing, if you know what I mean.

Maybe you love to golf, but you have to ask yourself: How is the world being changed by your golf game? Maybe you love drinking coffee, but how can you help people and serve people and reach people with that passion?

It’s certainly possible. Callings come in all shapes and sizes. But it’s important to ask the question.

Of course, this isn’t a perfect formula. I’m not pretending like it’s failproof or that callings are cut and dry or that they don’t sometimes flux and change in different seasons.

Right now, I’m called to write. But I believe later in life I will be called to be a mom, and maybe even a grandma, and probably a whole host of other things too. I believe we have more than one calling in a lifetime and that our callings are constantly unfolding.

But I guess the biggest tragedy would be if we didn’t believe we had a calling at all or we didn’t believe that it mattered so we ignored our passions altogether or ignored our capacity for serving and connecting to others.

Please don’t let that happen. The world will be a better place when more of us wake up to what we were put on this earth to do.

Allison Vesterfelt is a Christian author. Her book Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life With Less Baggage was recently released.

For the original article, visit justinlathrop.com.

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5 Items for a New Pastor’s ‘To Do’ List

To-do-listHave you ever noticed how ideas seem to flow when you don’t need them? Throughout the year, you might have a dozen great ideas for a weekend getaway; but when a weekend is finally available for a trip, you can’t think of anything to do. Or maybe you’ve had a million “when I get around to it” moments only to find that on a rare day off, you can’t remember any of them!

Being a pastor is much the same way. For years you may have thought, “If I was a pastor, the first thing I would do is …” And then, when that moment finally comes—a church calls you to pastor—you can’t figure out where to start. Being chosen to pastor a church is a great honor. Much like the first moment holding your newborn, you are overcome with one thought: “I want to do this right!”

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7 Suggestions for Navigating Change Through Muddy Water


Muddy-feetHave you ever had to lead change when no one knew for sure what change was needed, when there wasn’t clear agreement on where the organization needed to go, when some players on the team were uncommitted or complacent, or when the leadership pipeline—who is supposed to be leading—wasn’t clearly defined? Have you ever had to lead change when the season of decline has been so long no one remembers what success looks like, or when ... you get the idea.

It’s like navigating through muddy water. Have you ever been there?

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Dan Reiland: Big Ministry in Small Churches, Part 2

Dan-Reiland-Pastor-CoachLakeside Wesleyan Church, in Lakeside, Calif., was the first church I served as a staff member. It was a small church, and I learned much!

Rich Lauby was the pastor then, and the church accomplished significant life-changing ministry. For more on that story, see the previous article in this series (Part 1), which includes “6 Words for Small Churches.”

The first church I “officially” consulted was a small church in Ruston, La. Ever been there? The pastor’s name was Mark, and we hit it off immediately.

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Ron Luce: Feed My Lambs

F-Luce

It’s no secret that almost 90 percent of those who come to Christ do so before the age of 20. Youth ministries are built upon the premise that the younger years are when the harvest fields are richest. 

But time and again, I hear senior pastors and church members express the same frustration: “I just don’t know what to do to get through to these kids!”

The good news is that “getting through” is easier than you may think. Put simply: Just feed them! (And I don’t mean just feed them pizza, though that may be a good start.)

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30 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Years of Ministry

Thom-RainerIt was 30 years ago that I began serving a small rural church in southern Indiana. I was so incredibly green then; I’m glad I didn’t always realize it.

I loved those people in that church and, for some reason, they loved me too. I had to be one of the most inept pastors in history, but they just continued to show me grace and love me even more.

Three decades later, I reflect back on what I’ve learned in ministry. Some lessons came rather naturally; others were very painful.

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