Core Values

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.

Discerning and Implementing Strategic Priorities for Your Ministry

  • 1 April 2015
  • Randy Wollf

prioritiesDo you want to take your ministry to the next level? Are you unclear as to next steps? I have found the following process helpful for discerning and implementing strategic priorities that will help a ministry build momentum toward a desired future.

Proceed Prayerfully

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of bathing the entire discernment process in prayer. As you go through the following steps, take time to pray periodically and to practice (and encourage others to practice) a posture of listening to God’s voice.

Clarify Your Mission

In a previous blog, Six Steps to Creating a Compelling Mission Statement for Your Group, I describe a process for identifying your group’s mission. If you don’t have a mission statement for your ministry yet, I would encourage you to read the blog and create one. It’s difficult to discern meaningful strategic priorities without an overarching goal in mind.

Articulate Core Values

What do you think are your ministry’s core values (this is a good exercise to do with your ministry team)? What do you think that your ministry should value? Come up with a list of 6-8 current and desired values that you believe are foundational to your ministry. One way to do this is to have your team brainstorm adjectives or phrases that describe the current ministry. Then, have them think about their dream ministry and go through the same brainstorming process.

Discern God’s Vision for Your Ministry

With your ministry team, project yourself into the future. It is five years from now and you have, amazingly enough, developed the most incredible ministry. Now, it’s your job, as a team, to describe it - as if you were able to see it, realistically around you. Make sure that you use your ministry’s core values from the previous step. It’s also very important that your emerging vision aligns with your mission.

Identify Strategic Priorities

Now, that you are clear on your ministry’s mission, core values and vision, you can identify strategic priorities. What are the steps you need to take to realize your vision? Identify three to five big objectives (e.g. develop a mentoring approach). For each objective, come up with SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound) goals that will help you make progress with each objective (e.g. hold a one-day training session on how to coach others on June 20).

Execute the Plan