After all, our calling, vocation or mission in life is often tied tightly to doing something.
In fact, when you ask someone about calling or personal mission, they will likely list off a host of things they are doing.
Ruth Haley Barton notes our rampant confusion regarding calling when she says,
“We set young leaders up for a fall if we encourage them to envision what they can do before they consider the kind of person they should be.” —Ruth Haley Barton
In the church, where we should know better, this misapprehension of calling takes on cosmic proportions. Primarily because we spiritualize everything and thereby make it far more urgent than callings in other areas of life.
Here, for example, is a personal vision statement I lived by as recently as ten years ago.
The Rise and Fall of the “Be Better-Do More-Try Harder” Trinity
When I began my “ministry career” back in the mid 90s, I was driven by two primary convictions:
My calling was to do all I could to win young people to Jesus, and
Encourage them to go out and “change the world for Christ.”
These primary convictions shaped how I went about doing youth ministry. They followed me into and shaped the early years of my senior pastoral ministry, as well.
It took me years to recognize that these convictions were more tethered to my notion of what success in ministry meant than they were connected to a deep love for Christ and a growing desire to be transformed into His image.
**This blog, and perhaps every blog to follow, will be exploring a new vision for pastoral leadership and congregational care. A vision I am discovering or have been “stumbling, bumbling, and fumbling” my way into the past eight years of planting and serving a congregation committed to soul-care and spiritual formation. If you find it helpful, please let me know and freely share it with others.**
I serve as the pastor of Pillar Community Church in Vero Beach, Fl.
My family and I, with a few friends, planted Pillar in 2011.
Pillar’s vision is to be and become a place of soul-care and spiritual transformation.
Spiritual transformation, as a primary means of discipleship, has been gaining ground since Richard Foster published Celebration of Discipline, just over thirty years ago. Yet we find the term early and often in both the Scriptures.
I use the term to emphasize the conviction that it is possible for everyone to be transformed into the image of Christ. This conviction is the central message of the Gospel.
“Why is that life – that joyful life with Jesus – so hard to experience now? What is it about the way we are living life that makes such moments exceptional, and why on earth can they not be normative?”
She had me at “why.”
She was right.
In my heart, I sensed that something had to change.