The Call

I continued to work in the church through the Summer and Fall of 1985. I couldn’t seem to get enough. My career at Delaval was going well. God was showing favor there as I was becoming more involved in committees and training, etc. It was a good job for me. I told Cal Pearson that I couldn’t foresee me doing anything else in my life, but should I grow weary of this job I’d leave. However, I could not possibly imagine that happening.

This statement was important because it was less than a month later when I noticed that my heart was being drawn away from Delaval. It was like out of the blue that I was growing weary of my job. It was amazing. I was not prepared for this; I never expected it. The work that I loved doing was becoming taxing and frustrating. In a very short period of time I wanted to be somewhere else though I didn’t know where that would be. The only remote clue I had was that my heart was being drawn toward doing more work for God in the context of a local church. This notion brought much fear and angst in my heart.

Simultaneous to these emotions creeping into my soul there were some folk at church who were making suggestions about me going “into the ministry”. Going into the ministry was a term from the Independent Baptist movement of churches that meant if a male, Christian had zeal and seemingly some personality and desire (burden) then God was calling him into the ministry. This is not a good approach to going into the ministry even though men do this all the time in various religious cultures. One of the things that is missing in this equation is a lack of assessment of the person’s gift mix, character and a season of outworking of his gifting. This never happened to me, I received no counsel. The truth is that I was merely acting out the gospel in my life as I was learning from bible reading, preaching and modeling from other Christians. I don’t think the real issue was am I called, but that I was growing in my understanding and application of the gospel in my life. I think it is more of a reflection on the lack of gospel application in other people’s lives rather than me growing into a vocational role in ministry.

Nevertheless, my zeal was being interpreted as a call to the ministry and folks were becoming less and less shy about stating their opinions regarding my vocational future. To be honest this was quite provoking to me in a sinful way. I was becoming more and more frustrated and angered as I thought about “going into the ministry”. I did not want to go. I was terrified of this notion. No one came alongside me to talk about the things; they were observing me and stating opinions of how they thought about my future or how it may have been working in my heart. Furthermore, they were taking the position of waiting for me to come around to their perspective and “surrendering” to the obvious call that God had placed on my life.

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