For the week of August 21, 2005

Call: The Third Step in Discipling
By: Tom Bandy
Every Christian is called. Once lives have been changed, and once people are spiritually growing (see previous leadership tips) people need mentoring to discern, hear, and obey their call. This is often where churches go wrong. Instead of helping people hear their personal call, they recruit them into committees and task groups. This sidetracks them into fulfilling the mission of the institution, and ignoring the mission God actually gives them.

A working definition of call for growing churches is this: A call is any compelling behavior pattern to bless other people that is contrary to your nature. In other words, it is not really what we want to do. It is what we have to do! You feel a deep, urgent necessity to reach a stranger to grace … with an experience of grace … using whatever gifts that you have or tactics that will work.

There are two basic ways people hear a call. They discern it through deep prayer, Biblical reflection, and observance of the Spirit in culture. Or they discern it through action/reflection, risky experiments in mission, and self-sacrifice. Both require the guidance of a mentor or spiritual leader.