is God calling me into mission? (series intro)

I’ve spent the bulk of the past week at a conference considering global mission. So the language of ‘call’ has been sounding in my ears.

And I’m trying to make sense of it.

Personal disclosure moment:

People in the circles I come out of tend to be suspicious of such language. And I’m more or less convinced that when the New Testament speaks of our ‘calling’ it’s usually referring to our calling to belong to Jesus (ie. our conversion).

But I’m also aware that talk of God ‘calling’ people is prominent in other Christian circles. Whether it’s about mission in general, a particular mission field (e.g., a people-group or type of mission), or even a secular vocation. It also tends to have more currency among Christians of a certain generation.

And I know that many people who reach for the language of ‘call’ do so because they’re genuinely interested in obeying God. They clearly want to honour him with their lives, plans and decisions. Often far more than I do.

So I’m setting myself the task of poking and prodding this language to see not only whether it’s biblical but what functions it serves — and, in turn, what I can learn from it.

I’d appreciate your help and interaction along the way. In particular, I’d love to hear first of all the ways in which you may have found it helpful to speak of your ‘calling’…

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4 comments

  1. This was one of the questions we posed to David Huynh last year at our youth camp.

    “How can you be sure of your ‘Calling”

    From memory the word ‘calling’ in the Bible generally refers to being called back to the Lord (as you mentioned your conversion) but also called back to Jesus (death), I don’t remember it ever being used in the Bible as God calling us to ministry.

    But yes, the word ‘Calling’ can raise some eyebrows in some circles.

    Looking forward to this series! 🙂

    http://joeblgs.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/so-you-want-to-go-on-stm-short-term-mission/

    Check out the links in the blog post. Interesting thoughts and challenges that hit us as we think about missions (short term that is)

  2. Nice one.

    3rd last paragraph is spot on, guess because we come out of same circles.

    What I found fascinating is that it is very often a translation issue more than anything else.

    1. People use the same word to mean different things: calling, vision, burden. Maybe worship?

    2. It is difficult to trace how people came to use those words to mean what they mean.

    with 1 and 2, I often find myself hearing a lot of “yes, but…”

    3. I often do not have words for what they mean by calling, vision and all that.

    4. (optional) Now, imagine finding those words translated into Chinese in very clunky ways. That is where things get really interesting.

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