This past weekend I was able to bring a few teenagers to Northpoint Bible College’s Campus Experience. As I sat in the auditorium for the first chapel service, I looked around at the teenagers and college students who had gathered there and smiled. My heart was full.
Four years ago I attended the same Experience. My intention wasn’t to apply to the school, but to accompany a friend who would attend the following year. Little did I know that a weekend at a Bible college would change my life.
During the final chapel service that weekend, the president of the college gave an altar call and the band began to play. Students quickly moved all the chairs to the side, opening up the space for attendees to pray and worship. During those next several moments, I heard it. I heard Him. I heard God call me into ministry.
He didn’t speak to me in an audible voice, but I heard God whisper to my heart. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that He had called me, but I had no idea what it would look like.
I didn’t end up attending Northpoint, but I did recently finish my degree at Southwestern Assemblies of God University. However, as I looked around that auditorium this past weekend, I wondered how many people God was speaking to at that very moment, calling them into ministry. Looking back on where my journey has taken me the last few years makes me incredibly excited for what awaits those who heard God’s call.
How do you know what you’ve been called to do? You just know. I wish I had a better answer than that, but it’s true. But it’s more than just knowing about something. It’s a deep knowing that extends to the core of your being. Once you’ve found it, it isn’t easy to shake. You never know when it’ll hit you, but when it does, you’ll never forget it.
While I certainly can’t write a “How To Find Your Calling in Five Easy Steps” article, I can give some guidelines that might point you in the right direction.
Everyone is Called to Something
Our first and foremost calling is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
I don’t mean that everyone is called to be a pastor, or missionary, or worship leader, or to go to Bible college. Not everyone is called to children’s ministry (though I wish they were!). After all, Paul did say: “18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body” (1 Corinthians 12:18-20). We all have different gifts and different roles to play in the Body of Christ.
Don’t think for a moment you were put on this earth for nothing. Our first and foremost calling is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9 states: “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” We often stop there, but let’s continue. Verse 10 reads: “10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
You were created to serve Jesus through good works. The wonderful thing is that God already knows what they are! He’s prepared them in advance. Even if you don’t know what they are at the moment, God already does. Trust Him, and He will reveal them to you in time. I was a junior in college pursuing an education degree at a secular school when God called me to ministry.
Facing Opposition Does Not Mean That You Are Not Called
After my first Campus Experience, I decided I should finish my education degree before pursuing my degree in Children and Family Ministries. As many people are aware, the final semester of the education degree is the student teaching experience. I won’t go into complete details of that semester, but I had a really trying time. I was completely overwhelmed, couldn’t pass my performance reviews, and was filled with incredible anxiety.
I was in such bad shape that I needed to alter my program. I was still able to graduate with the education degree, but I wasn’t able to get a teaching license.
For a while, I began to doubt my calling to children’s ministry. I failed at teaching, so who was I to think I could teach children about God?
In retrospect, I am glad God closed the door for me to teach in public schools. If He hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to devote anywhere near enough time to my passion to minister to kids. At the time, I thought I was a failure, but now I realize that God was leading me into my calling. Additionally, with my education background, I now have a set of skills that have proven to be extremely valuable as I work with kids.
When I think back on those times, I remember the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:26-28:
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,29 so that no one may boast before him.
When you face opposition, don’t be discouraged. You are still called. It is your weakness that brings the most glory to God. If you are feeling discouraged, read my post on discouragement, and keep your head up!
Not knowing what you are called to do isn’t an excuse to sit in the pews every Sunday and watch others perform the Lord’s work. Don’t know if you’re called to be a greeter but think it’s interesting? Ask if you can join the team. Not sure if you can teach children but the idea intrigues you? Apply to help out in the children’s ministry. It’s okay to try something and later realize it’s not for you. Who knows? You may just find your niche.
Not knowing what you are called to do isn’t an excuse to sit in the pews every Sunday and watch others perform the Lord’s work.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if I turned down the offer to help in the children’s ministry and teach Sunday School because I wasn’t sure if it was for me. In fact, when I began teaching Sunday School, no children showed up! I wondered if I had broken the ministry somehow. The thought entered my mind that I might be going in the wrong direction. Now I know that wasn’t the case.
Keep spreading the love of Jesus wherever you go. Share the gospel, give to a ministry, reach out to a friend who’s hurting. Serve in a soup kitchen, read to children, invite a neighbor over for dinner. Keep serving, and you will eventually find your calling. You’ll know it when you find it.
You are God’s handiwork. You were created for a purpose. If you’re not sure what it is, serve the Lord anyway. Once you’ve found it, pursue it. Even if opposition comes your way, ask God to sustain you and don’t give up. Take your life and use it to bring glory and honor to the King of Kings and watch where God leads you.