One of the great things about youth ministry is seeing how students respond to God’s call on their life – not just how they respond to a specific call, but how they respond to the entire concept of calling. We had a visitor come to youth group earlier this month. He is a student at Kuyper College in the Youth Ministry program. He was working to complete an assignment on calling and had to interview a Youth Pastor/Director as well as make a visit to their youth group. I turned the tables on him a little and asked him to share about how he discovered his own calling to ministry. In the impromptu interview-style conversation that followed we were able to highlight a few key aspects about calling:
What kinds of things does God call us to? God doesn’t need us. He created the world from nothing; He controls wind and waves, and water and wine. And yet, God calls us to work with Him in doing His work. The very fact that God calls on us at all adds significance to our lives and brings purpose to our work. He brings us to work in all spheres of life. Certainly, He calls people to ministry and into missions. But beyond the more traditionally thought-of fields we also see God calling us to works of mercy, compassion, healing, peace and more. God calls us to this work in big, life-long commitments and daily acts of service. We asked students to look for ways God might be calling them. We encouraged them to have confidence in God’s call on their lives for both the big and small things.
How will we be able to accomplish the work God is calling us to? With all this important work to be done, God will need a team of well-equipped people to get it all done. Not only does God add significance and purpose to our lives by calling us to His work, but He also equips us to get the work done. God is already at work in people, even those unaware of their calling. He is developing spiritual gifts, natural talents and learned abilities. It is no accident how we are put together; our interests, passions, abilities – God is giving us the tools we will need to fulfill the calling(s) He has on our lives. He equips each person for the work He calls them to do. We asked the students to think about ways they already saw themselves developing. Some students are leaders, some are thinkers, some are servants, some artistic, some are good with people. God is shaping us into exactly who He needs for answering His call. We are each crucial parts in God’s master plan.
How will we hear a calling from God? With so much at stake, knowing when God is calling and knowing how become pretty important. We shared the story of young Samuel hearing a very audible call from God while in the temple. He heard God’s call several times but did not recognize that call. Samuel needed some instruction from Eli to identify that call. We talked about areas in our lives we may hear a call from God. Certainly God can, and still does, call people audibly and through clear dreams and visions. He also calls through the power of His written word. He calls to us through the words and actions of others. We reminded the students they may be hearing God’s from someone like us, even in this very youth group lesson. We also asked them to recognize that they could at times be the Eli – that they would be delivering God’s call to someone else.
It was a wonderful time to open the eyes of our youth to the idea of calling. I look forward to seeing where God calls our students and what He calls them to. Please continue to pray for our youth; that they would listen and hear God’s calling and that they would realize the significant part they are playing, and will continue to play, in God’s Kingdom.
Director of Youth Ministries