Christian Living Church Leadership

The Power of Calling

Yesterday, I spent some time thinking about the calling of Abraham and Moses. (Genesis 15; Exodus 3) I was comparing the discomfort those men went through as a result of their calling to a community and the relative ease with which I question my calling to the community I live in and the work God has clearly called me to do at YS.

Why am I so quick to question while they spent decades grinding out their calling?

I’m glad I spent time with Moses and Abraham yesterday. I somehow associate “being called” with “being easy.” It reminded me that being called somewhere brings great pleasure, but also involves sticking it out through times of doubt, turmoil, angst, and pressure.

A few week’s ago I ruffled some feathers with a post called, Youth Workers: Don’t Punk Out. I’ve known too many people called to a task but have given up for a different task. They will wrestle with the guilt the rest of their lives. They will work out justifications that make it sound like they weren’t “running to Ninevah” but in their hearts they know they are just trying to save face when they need to repent.

God may bless them in other capacities but the guilt of their mistake will always haunt them.

When I think of Moses and Abraham I think about their contemporaries. Certainly, God called other men and women living at the same time to do things. But their stories didn’t get recorded in history. Why? Did they cower? Did they hide from their calling? Certainly, they didn’t outshine Moses or Abraham.

The thing about being called to a task in life is that you know you are called. Hence the phrase calling. Calling implies that their was an invitation and a RSVP to that invitation. It was sent and it was received. You know you’ve been called because you answered the phone! God asked you if you’d do it and you willingly (and maybe with much trembling) said “Yes, Lord I hear you. I will do that.

You will know you have been called when the power of the calling exhibits itself

  • Calling haunts you.
  • Calling wakes you up early in the morning and lays your head down late at night; it provides more energy than sleep.
  • Calling and vocation are two different things. Calling isn’t about a paycheck its about the reward.
  • Calling applies in every context you find yourself in. You can fulfill your calling living next door to your mommy, and you can fulfill your calling living in a third world country.
  • Calling and longsuffering are kissing cousins.
  • Calling can release you; it can spit you up; it can drive you to madness; but it is unchanging and seeming unchangeable.
  • Calling is affirmed by people in your life and by results measured in Kingdom impact.
  • Calling is about short-term suffering and long-term rewards. Abraham’s descendants are numerous beyond belief. Moses faithfulness to God was only surpassed by Jesus.
  • Calling looks like foolishness to some.
  • Calling isn’t something soft. If you’ve been called you know it. You might not be able to articulate how you were called but if you were called you would know it.
  • There is general calling, we are all called to love God and love others. And there is specific calling.
  • Calling releases energy, resources, and results that defy the laws of economics and physics.
Good News youth ministry

Good News for High School Students

I’m always at odds with this reality:

If Jesus offers good news, what is it about how we do youth ministry that is only attractive to 1% – 2% of the high school students on our campus?

That always lead same  to a place where I say, “I don’t think we’re doing this right just yet.

  • Good news spreads like wild fire.
  • Good news is unstoppable.
  • Good news releases energy.
  • Good news releases joy.
  • Good news is contagious.

In 1994, as a high school senior our basketball won the Indiana state basketball championship. If you’ve seen the movie Hoosiers than you get a glimpse of how important this is to the state of Indiana. It’s a really big deal. Not only do the finals fill the RCA Dome, the same building which hosts the NCAA Final Four, it is a much bigger tournament as every high school in the state got a chance to enter the tournament. So as the final seconds ticked off the clock in overtime and our team was up 93-88… the student body of Clay High School collectively lost it. We poured onto the court. We screamed and danced. And then when we got kicked off of the court we ran around the inside of the stadium screaming, chanting, bouncing, skipping, and dancing! And then we got kicked out of the RCA Dome and we literally just ran through the streets of downtown Indianapolis screaming, chanting, bouncing, skipping, dancing, and stopping traffic to tell them, “We won!

That was good news worth celebrating. It unleashed unstoppable joy. It was universal on our campus. It was even universal in our city as everyone felt good about this good news!

If youth ministry were good news to the high school students on our campus.. you’d see this same unstoppable release of joy. It’d be nearly universal. Even those who didn’t embrace it would be excited it. Good news is worth celebrating, dancing, and running through the streets for.

I know it. You know it. 1% – 2% of people running through the halls… that’s just creepy!

The only question is, are we will to think and dream of ways to be good news to our campus so they might desire to hear Good News?