Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mission as calling

We started talking yesterday a little about calling. It's interesting, a couple of the faith-based organizations I've interviewed with have asked some form of this question:

"Do you feel called to work at ABC Ministry?"

I've struggled with what calling means for years now. I remember the Sunday night at Mt. Franklin Baptist Church in El Paso when I walked down and told my pastor, Buster Reeves, that I thought God was calling me to ministry. In a conversation with him later that week I said something like "I don't think God has called me to be a pastor, because I don't think I could come up with a new sermon every week. I think he's calling me to be a youth evangelist, so I can travel around summer camps and preach the same 5 sermons over and over." Those of you who know me are probably chuckling right now at the idea that I would run out of things to say.

When I first finished at UTEP, I just knew I was called to work for Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). FCA had been so influential on me as a college football player, and the FCA staff I had met back then seemed like really cool people, and I wanted to be like them. A brief phone conversation in 1989 with Dennis Conner changed all that, when he told me that I needed to raise my own support. At that time the last thing I wanted to do was raise money, so I quickly backed out of that conversation.

Later I was working at Loma Terrace Baptist Church as the Associate Pastor, and our Senior Pastor got a Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling and opened a private practice. The church called me as the new Senior Pastor.

But what was God calling me to? Was God's calling to a place, an organization, a church? Or was it deeper?

It was during my years at Loma Terrace that I first started using what has become the first half of my mission: stimulating redemptive living. Then, a few years later, as I ended up back at FCA raising my own support (God's great sense of irony), I added the second phrase, kingdom investment, as I learned more about biblical stewardship. So for almost 20 years now, my personal mission has been this:

Stimulating redemptive living and kingdom investment.

This is what God has called me to. And it's more about who I am and how that flows into what actions I take, than it will ever be about what job I have to pay my bills. Each of the 5 main words in my mission mean something to me, and over the next few days I want to unpack them.


DaronA said...

I'm not usually a commenter, but I'll join in. I like your mission, but isn't that what all Believers are supposed to be doing? How is your mission any uniquer than mine? If you can make up words, so can I. :) Does God have a unique mission/calling for each of us?

Arnie Adkison said...

That's a great question. I think that there is a level of commonality in all of our callings--certainly we're all called to obedience. What makes this uniquelier than the next mission statement is what each of those 5 words mean to me, I think, and I'll be discussing that tomorrow!