Pastor Dave Metsker
Knowing who God has called us to be and what he called us to do can provide welcome security and guidance. In his letters Paul often references his calling, indicating its importance. Regrettably, people who are uncertain of their calling may hesitate to serve in various arenas even though the opportunities seem consistent with their spiritual gifts, passion, personality, etc. Often the uncertainty results from believing that a call should be as clear as Paul’s on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-31)! The “call” is often thought to require a highly emotional, super-spiritual event that leaves no room for doubt. When we do not have this experience, we may hold back from allowing God to use us to the full. Thankfully, the Bible gives a broader image of calling than the Damascus road experience.
During my undergraduate studies at Oral Roberts University I was required to attend twice-weekly chapel services. Navigating a particularly dull service, God seized my thoughts. I had wandered from the speaker’s to questions about how I might be more than average, how I might be ordinary and yet impact the world. As a follower of Jesus I simply could not be indifferent, maintain the status quo, or follow the crowd. I wondered, not aware of the weight of my questions, “How can I be a revolutionary? How can I lead many in the Kingdom? How can I do the right, regardless?”
As the chapel speaker continued, the profound rushed into my mind; it had to be God. I recognized that I had primarily thought of leadership as a focus on training followers rather than developing leaders. A pastor can shepherd a flock of sheep to follow him or her to greener pastures. A manager can oversee employees to get things done. These focus on their followers. I began to understand I could also be a leader who develops many other leaders. This would allow me to not only positively influence leaders, but also to indirectly influence their followers!
The simplicity and breadth of this understanding gripped me. I saw that a leader who influences 50 followers could be very fulfilled and productive. However, I further understood training and releasing 10 leaders can positively impact each of their 50 followers, potentially benefiting 500 people! As each of these trained leaders continues to do the same, the leaders influence thousands more. This foundation could yield vast impact, a revolution. The chapel service ended with a song, but my journey began with a heart-pounding vision.
Despite this turning point, when people discussed calling in the ensuing years, I would confess that I did not know my calling. I had no announcement from heaven, no visits from angels, no loud word during prayer, and no prophetic that made my calling clear. Nevertheless, I had a desire to serve God in any way I could. I went on to earn a master’s degree in ministry, pastor youth, and direct a Bible college in Nigeria. While serving at the college, my calling became clearer. It had come, not as a Damascus road experience, but as Spirit-directed realization that my passion, spiritual gifts, abilities, and fruit indicated I had been called to develop leaders. This was my design, my God-given identity. This calling had to be accepted by faith, which is the way almost everything occurs in our journey with God. If I had not embraced my calling by faith, I would have missed it.