Personal Calling

How to Discern Your God-Given Call

  • 29 January 2017
  • Randy Wollf

Man walking alone in thoughtUnderstanding God's personal call is an important part of living fulfilled and productive lives as Christians (see Why Understanding Your Personal Calling is Important blog). Of course, Scripture describes God’s moral calling for every Christian―biblical principles guide us and help us know how we should live. Yet, it seems that God also has a more specific calling for each person―a job for them to do. Ephesians 2:10 says that we were created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. What "good works" does God want us to do in our lifetime? Let’s look at three steps for discerning God’s calling.

Life Purpose

Simply stated, our life purpose is the reason we exist. It’s what gives our lives meaning. I’m sure we can think of many people who had a strong sense of purpose. Mahatma Gandhi sought to promote peace and equality in non-violent ways. Mother Teresa devoted her life to loving the least of these; to touch the dying, the poor, the lonely, and the unwanted. A Canadian hero, Terry Fox, set out to run across Canada on one leg to raise money for cancer research.

To discern your life purpose, prayerfully identify 6-10 Scriptures that are meaningful to you. Why do you think that God has emphasized these verses in your life? How do they connect with activities that give your life deep meaning? Write down single words or themes that stand out to you from these passages. Now, use those ideas to create a one-sentence purpose statement that captures at least something of why you believe God created you (see the Three Steps to Understand Your Life Purpose in a Deeper Way blog for a more detailed description of this process).

My life purpose is to build capacity in myself and others so that we can love God deeply and serve Him more effectively. My purpose statement went through numerous revisions, so don’t feel that you have to figure it all out at the start.

Core Values

Our core values are deeply embedded assumptions and beliefs that continuously influence our decisions. They are extremely important! They will either support or hinder the living out of our life purpose.

Three Steps to Understand Your Life Purpose in a Deeper Way

  • 15 December 2014
  • Randy Wollf

Winding road through mountainsOne of my heroes, Mother Theresa, had a driving sense of purpose. In her own words, her life’s ambition was “to love the least of these; to touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted.”

Terry Fox, a Canadian hero who lost a leg to cancer, ran over 3,000 miles in his attempt to run across Canada. His purpose – to raise awareness about cancer and to ultimately find a cure.

Life purpose is the reason that we exist. It clarifies what is non-negotiable. It gives our lives focus.

Life purpose helps us to discern what is best among many good options. It gives us passion, courage and determination. When we understand our life purpose, we are much more likely to make sacrifices to achieve it. The result- increased productivity that is both meaningful and fulfilling.

In a previous blog, Why Understanding Your Personal Calling is Important, I talked about the first time I articulated my life purpose. Dave Jackson, who was with Church Resource Ministries at the time, led our church leadership through a process of clarifying our personal life purpose. The following three steps are an adaptation of the process he used and one that I have now used with hundreds of leaders to help them understand their life purpose in a deeper way:

Step 1 – What are at least 8 Scriptures, sayings, or quotes that give you focus and direction in life?

For me, my blood pressure increases whenever I read about making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) and the fields being ripe for harvest (John 4:35). Quotes like this one by C.T. Studd also inspire me: “Only one life and it will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” We all have “sacred texts” that guide us. What are yours?

Step 2 – As you reflect on what you wrote in step one, what are the themes that emerge?

The Scriptures and quotes that resonate deep within your spirit likely contain themes that are not only important to you, but to God, as well. As we draw close to God, our desires increasingly reflect His desires. Identifying these passions as expressed in key verses and quotes will make the final step of creating your purpose statement much easier.

Step 3 – Using the themes from step two, craft a one-sentence purpose statement.

Seven Dimensions of Christian Leadership

  • 11 December 2014
  • Randy Wollf

I love building capacity in seasoned and emerging Christian leaders so that they can serve God more effectively. As I do so, I have found it helpful to focus my energies on seven key dimensions of leadership: biblical truth, a growing relationship with God, character, calling, community, team, and skill (see the Christian Leadership Pyramid below). Questions I ask are how am I personally growing in these seven areas and how can I help others to grow in these dimensions, as well. 

The Christian Leadership Pyramid

Christian Leadership Pyramid

Biblical Truth   

Biblical truth must guide every aspect of our leadership. It is imperative that we increasingly live and lead in keeping with a thoroughly biblical worldview. This comes as we grow in our ability to meditate on God's Word continuously[1], to handle it accurately[2], and to be a courageous practitioner of the Word.[3]

A Growing Relationship with God

The desired foundation of Christian leadership is a growing relationship with God. The Christian leader must continue to live in Christ, rooted and built up in him.[4] As we abide in Christ, he will bear fruit through us.[5] I find that the practice of spiritual disciplines, when done in a meaningful way, rallies me to God and His plans for my life. One of the most useful tools I have found for establishing and growing these disciplines is the Rule of Life. A Rule of Life is an intentional plan to deepen one's relationship with God and to position oneself to love and serve others more effectively. Similar to what Peter Scazzero says in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality [6], I am learning that one's Rule of Life should encompass all of life. This would include practicing traditional spiritual disciplines such as prayer and listening to God through His Word, but also cultivating healthy relationships, fostering emotional health, and taking care of my body (among others).