It’s easy to get so buried in the daily minutiae that we forget the bigger vision and purpose. We’ve all experienced it. We’re so focused on the problem, the issues, the success,or the goals that we can find ourselves moving forward with a bit of uncertainty about where exactly God has called us. Questions are helpful during this time.
Questions are always a good way to pinpoint what we are doing. There are three reasons it’s good to ask questions: 1) At times, our calling may shift and questions help keep that door open. 2) Questions help us keep focused on seeking God, about where he is leading us and 3) Questions allow us to keep discovering.
In a recent Stan Toler book I was reading (a big shout out to Stan for sending me a few of his books!) I came across these three questions to help us stay clear about our calling in ministry. The springboard for these questions comes from 1 Cor. 3:5 – “The Lord has assigned to each his task…” From this scripture, Toler shares three questions that Max Lucado has used to help others clarify their calling in ministry:
In What Directions Has God Taken You?
No one else has your precise career path. You’ve been given unique opportunities to serve, to lead, to experience and to understand. Your path in life is so unique that there may be things only you can do and share with others during this specific time in history. I have heard countless stories of people who felt a call into ministry after serving in the business world or other careers. During their time in ministry, they would utilize their gifts and experience. One story, the details of which I do not totally recall, came from a pastor who had taken early retirement as an executive for a major clothing line. He began serving a church in a small town and soon after moving there, something happened to one of the prominent stores in town. I can’t remember if it was a flood or storm or what. After hearing about the catastrophe for this store, the pastor got up early, went down and said, “Let me help you get things inventoried.” Because of his confidence, knowledge and experience, he was able to help build a bridge in that community. He understood the needs because of his past experience.
What directions has God taken you? Can you see a pattern?
What Needs Has God Revealed To You?
What really gets you upset? What makes you cry? What breaks your heart? You have specific emotional connections to certain issues and when you discover those they will give you a clue as to where God is leading you in ministry. You may notice something needs to be done and no one else would have even thought of it until you brought it up!
What Abilities Has God Given You?
What do you do well? What have others noted in you in which you are successful? What do you excel in? Taking a look at your abilities is a good indication of where God might be leading you. This honest assessment of how your gifts can best be used in furthering the kingdom ministry is often an eye-opener as to what you should be doing.
Sometimes, we falsely assume assessing our gifts is not humble. In reality, it’s just the opposite. Those who discover the gifts they have been given by God and invest in them are living more humbly than those who don’t insert their God given gifts into the equation.
What is it about your gifts that help you see where God has called you?
Steps After Answering These Questions
You may reflect on these questions and discover that you are not in the place where you need to be. Be wiling to take a step of faith. Pray for a supernatural burst of energy that will give you clarity and wisdom about the next step. You may also answer these questions and determine that you are right where you need to be. In that case, dig in, dream bigger and stay confident in the call. [Read: Don’t Confuse the Call with the Caller] In either case, the main step is to stay close to God. Listen for the whispers of His leading in our lives. Spend time reading and reflecting on the Word. And seek God’s face as you live life each day.
You can buy Stan Toler’s book, Practical Guide For Ministry Transition book here.