A missionary call: Is it God's will for you?

Discover if you have a mission call
1. Immerse yourself in the Word
All of it! Not just a few favorite phrases
2. Listen to the Holy Spirit
The inner witness
3. Look to God as sovereign
He often leads by opening and closing doors
4. Seek the counsel of mature Christians
Church elders, pastor, a mentor, close Christian friends
--Joe Mattox, Heart Institute, Lake Wales, FL

When does God call people to long-term missionary service?

  • 21% were called to missions as a result of a missions education service in their local church
  • 20% felt God calling them after listening to missionary speakers
  • 19% were called because of their own family's missions vision and conversations
  • 10% heard God's call through reading missionary books

-- Terry Read, missionary and missions professor

Feeling that God is calling you to missionary service?

"How can they hear without someone preaching to them?" -- Romans 10:14

Take these steps to discover if He is calling you

  1. Read everything about missions and missionaries that you can get your hands on.
    • Start by reading the story of Susan Fitkin's call to missions. She's a lady who had a dramatic "call" to global evangelism, a call which led her to be a mobilizer and vision-caster at home rather than an on-the-field missionary.
  2. Get involved in the missions mobilization and education program of your local church
  3. Go hear every missionary speaker that you can. God sometimes chooses that time to clarify His calling to young people.
  4. Talk to your pastor.
    • Verbalizing your thinking with him and enlisting his prayer support may help you sort through various issues.
  5. Throw yourself into active ministry through your local church.
    • Learn to minister effectively in your own culture before you attempt cross-cultural ministry.
  6. Go on a short-term missions trip like SNU's "Commission Unto Mexico." [ more info on Mexico trip ] A cross-cultural mission trip will give you a taste of life on the mission field and a good opportunity to sense God's leadership.
  7. Contact a missionary sending agency.
  8. Consider giving a year of volunteer service overseas before deciding whether you should offer the rest of your life.
  9. Persevere.
    • In her book, Venture of the Heart, Lela Morgan says that early Nazarene missions leader H.F. Reynolds told a young would-be missionary: "Brother Winans, we cannot send you to South America; but if God has called you, you will go or backslide."

God's leadership: Key elements of a divine call

In reflecting on a case study used in Theology of Missions class, student Kimberly Jayne noted that some common elements of a call into long-term or career ministry were:

  1. A metaphysical encounter with God which establishes a sense of calling (This may as dramatic as the burning bush episode Moses had in Exodus 3 or it may be a gentle whisper like the still small voice Elijah heard in 1 Kings 19).
  2. A time of reflection or doubting of the calling
  3. An affirmation of the call through the Body of Christ (the Church) To top of page
  4. A willingness to obey that puts no conditions on where you are willing to go or on what God may ask you to do

Ready for God's call
Wanting to know God's will? A stick figure diagram can help you. . . [ read more ]

How to know that you are called
from Evangelical Missions Quarterly . . .
  1. God delights to call his children in unique and personal ways. He doesn't use a cookie-cutter template or a 10-step formula.
  2. Before revealing his unique callings, God always provides more general callings to His people -- callings to salvation, holiness and obedience. If we miss these, we will never hear God's more personal and peculiar callings.
  3. Hearing a call to ministry is not a measure of spiritual commitment.
  4. Calling is not a status to wear. Responding to a call always requires doing.
  5. Being called is not a reflection of giftedness. Calling is more than the sum of our gifts. It is individually sculpted to incorporate both God's purposes and our passions

     --Gary Corwin, in his editorial "Calling and Character," published in the January 2000 issue of EMQ

arrow   Dr. Doug Samples' book Call Waiting will help you explore the possibility that God might be calling you to full-time ministry [ more info ]

arrow   "God's calling plan" by Gordon MacDonald in Leadership Journal [ read article ]

How do you hear God's call?

NextYou can make yourself ready to hear when God speaks. You need ready feet and a pure heart.

SNU missions course materials and syllabi

Cultural Anthropology    Introduction to Missions    Linguistics    Missions Strategies    Modern Missionary Movement (History of Missions)    Nazarene Missions    Church Growth and Christian Missions    Theology of Missions    Traditional Religions    World Religions
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Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma City, OK 73132  |  Phone: 405-740-4149 - Fax: 405-491-6658
Copyright © 1999, 2001 - Last Updated: January 22, 2015 |  URL: http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/call.htm

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