Courage to Voice the Call

By: Northern Seminary

passing the batonJohn Ortberg has written a great article for Leadership Journal: “Call Forwarding.”

I would encourage you to read it:

  • Because he’s a great writer
  • Because he has important things to say
  • Because this article is especially necessary


The heart of his message is that this generation of ministry leaders must inspire the next generation.  Please read the article for the excellent points John makes.

What resonated especially with my own experience is the necessity of directing people towards Christian ministry.  We’ve made the mistake for generations of waiting for volunteers. We legitimize it by saying, “God will call them if it’s meant.”

That is little better than a hyper-Calvinist justification for never sharing the gospel because God will save whoever he wants without any help from me.  But God means us to challenge people with the claims of Christ, and God means us to challenge people with the call to ministry.

All of my twenties were spent studying.  But after three or four years I took time out to re-consider whether I was meant to become a pastor.  For about fifteen months I worked as an administrator in a local government office.  I enjoyed it, and I could have been promoted and had a good career there.  Why didn’t I?  I could say God put me back on track, but it’s how that happened which is interesting.

Alison and I had become committed to supporting a new church plant in a tough area, and the pastor of the fledgling congregation asked me to preach one Sunday.  I did, and I guess it went well because afterwards the pastor said, “I can’t help thinking there’s a gift wasting away in a local government office.  Are you sure you are meant to be there?”

That hit me hard.  I did not instantly change direction, but before another year was out I had left local government and was back at college, studying theology and heading towards Christian ministry.  I have never looked back again.

Could God have reached me some other way?  I know the answer to that, but the point is he reached me then because someone had the courage to challenge me.

We need more who will do that, people willing to say, “You have gifts God could use in ministry. Please think and pray about it.”

February 12, 2013

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