Discernment of Call
By: Tom Bandy
Why do so many laity start out passionate and strong, and then become complacent and frustrated? Track 2 churches are often very good at providing motivational and life-changing worship … and they are very successful in drawing people out of worship to discern their spiritual gifts and personality types. Their mistake is that they then sidetrack those changed and gifted laity to fill the gaps in the institutional agenda. They match up their gifts with institutional need. At first, laity feel pleased to serve and fulfilled in exercising their gifts. But later the spiral of fatigue, frustration, guilt, and excuses happen. Once so committed, suddenly they just “don’t have time in their very busy lives” for the church. What happened?

The church never provided the next step in mentoring: helping people discern their call and articulate their personal mission. They swept them away so fast to fill the gaps of institutional need, they forgot to help the laity discern just how they personally felt God wanted to use their spiritual gifts. Their personal mission might, in fact, be very different from the institutional mission.

When people discover their personal mission, they rarely burn out. They may sometimes get tired, but they don’t get terminally frustrated or guilty. And they don’t complain that they “just don’t have time”. People who are pursuing a personal mission make time. They shape their very lifestyles around the mission to which they feel called.

Let the mission emerge from the callings of the people … and stop shaping the people around the agendas of the institutional church.