All truly great stories begin with an average Joe (or Joelle) being called, often reluctantly, into something greater. Sometimes crisis thrusts change upon them. Sometimes they are invited to rise, sometimes they are coerced. In all the great stories, the inward journey of the protagonist is just as epic as the outward story unfolding around them.
Luke Skywalker. Frodo Baggins. Katniss Everdeen. Maximus Decimus Meridius. William Wallace.
The Bible is full of call stories: Abram, Deborah, Samson, Gideon, Jeremiah, Mary, Peter, Paul. And they’re real ones! When we say yes to the call of Jesus on our lives, everything changes… although not all at once. The best part is, we may be the protagonist of our stories, but we don’t have to be the hero. That’s where Jesus comes in.
In fact, every true calling leads back to him and his love for the world he created.
When I was eighteen I attended His Hill Bible School in Comfort, Texas. It was a life-changing year. Every student at ‘The Hill’ was assigned a weekly ministry outlet. I was plunked in a local church’s Sunday School class for little boys.
The church was fine, I guess, but I never really got into teaching the class. My friends, however, had a cool assignment—a weekly “Good News Club” in a nearby town that was home to two witch’s covens. Apparently two or three of the kids coming to the club were children of witches and warlocks. Intrigued, I jumped in the “Good News Club” van to help out one week.
As I watched the kids playing, singing gospel songs, drinking in Bible stories, eating glue, and pasting yarn to popsicle sticks, my heart was ripped from top to bottom. Without warning, while half sitting on the edge of a table too rickety to support my weight, I started ugly sobbing.
The Club leader found me blubbering and asked me what was wrong.
“These… kids… need… Jesus.”
With that, she broke down and cried with me. “You can preach the gospel to me anytime,” she said.
On the drive back to The Hill I remember staring vacantly out the window of the van as the rugged terrain scrolled by. And I remember knowing, with crystal clarity, that I would be spending the rest of my life telling people about Jesus Christ. There were no words, but God had spoken. This was my call to full-time, Christian ministry. I have never looked back.
Since then I’ve gotten married and grown a family, been a Sunday School teacher and Youth Sponsor, a Youth Ministry Intern, A Youth Pastor, led a bunch of mission trips, and even been a Lead Pastor. I have seen God do amazing things in, through, around, and in spite of us. But now, twenty-five years after my initial call, I feel like I’m returning to the truest heartbeat of my life.
This past Sunday Shauna and I stood in front of our Congregation of eight years and announced God’s call on our lives to leave DCC to plant a new church here in Calgary.
It’s time to leave our secure pastoral position, the congregation we love, and the safety net of organized church… and step into the unknown with King Jesus.
Tomorrow I’ll share how this latest chapter came about, and how God may be preparing you for a call story of your own.