Calling out the Called: Answering God’s Unique Proposition for Our Life

By Thomas Hammond, Executive Director, Georgia Baptist Mission Board

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24

As followers of Christ, each of us possesses a calling from God. For pastors, that calling is to lifelong vocational service in sharing the gospel, teaching the Word, discipling His children and advancing the Kingdom. It is a privilege to co-labor with our Georgia Baptist pastors, as they faithfully live out His call on their lives.

God is at work across the state. Each day, we hear your stories of new decisions for Christ, baptisms from believers across all generations, and the church being mobilized through compassion ministries reaching the unseen and most vulnerable in our communities. Yet, we are facing a reality that we need more pastors leading churches across our state to join God in all He is doing.

And let me tell you, He is on the move!

For many, retirement is approaching and in clear view. For others, their first few years of ministry have been met with challenges, only exacerbated by the impacts of the Covid pandemic.

We firmly believe God has not stopped calling His children into ministry. This is our opportunity to join Him with intention in helping others hear God’s call and follow Him in faith.

What is the call?

In Ephesians 2:10, we read that “we are His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Believers are called to receive the transformative power of Christ, and actively live out their faith through the Spirit in their daily lives. God has done this work within us so that He can do His work through us.

The call is authored and orchestrated by God, who distinctly places His hand upon our lives before we are even born. For some, that call is an act of obedience to be a faithful witness in the mission field of the marketplace which God has prepared in advance for them to do. Every believer receives spiritual gifts to be used for the benefit of others, both in the marketplace and in the church.

Yet, there are also gifts specific to the church that are to be used in completing the sacred work of growing the Body of Christ, members and believers.

For others, it is the call from God to commit to this work fully.  Page after page in the Bible, we read of individuals – John the Baptist, Elijah, Samuel, and Paul – who were called by God for a particular work, at a particular time.

In each case, God was the author of the calling, inviting each to join Him in the work He designed, and to fulfill a specific assignment.

What does it mean to “Call out the Called”?

 There are individuals in our churches with a call to sacred work. It is the responsibility of pastors to lead their flocks to surrender to God’s call on their lives and walk in a manner worthy of the calling bestowed upon all of us.

This is our opportunity in the Church to rekindle our commitment to helping each person in our care to follow God’s will for his life.

How do I “Call out the Called”?

For those called into the sacred, we start by extending an invitation, like the invitation you likely received when you first sensed God’s call. I received the call at a young age.  While in college, I wrestled for two years before saying “Yes” to a life of ministry. We are positioned to come alongside those who sense a calling by supporting them through prayer, disciplining them in their walks with Christ and guiding them through mentorship.

To effectively call out the called in your congregation, consider the following principles:

  • Remember Your Call:
    • Reflect on your own calling and journey, allowing it to inform your approach to calling others.
    • Share personal experiences and lessons learned to inspire and guide those discovering their calling.
  • Notice Who Is Ready to Be Called:
    • Pay attention to individuals displaying signs of readiness and receptivity to a divine calling.
    • Cultivate an atmosphere of openness where people feel comfortable sharing their spiritual aspirations.
  • Commit to Discipling Someone in Their Call:
    • Take intentional steps to mentor and disciple individuals in their specific calling.
    • Provide guidance, share insights, and offer support as they navigate their unique path.
  • Remain Faithful to the Call:
    • Emphasize the importance of enduring commitment to one’s calling despite challenges.
    • Encourage resilience and perseverance, reinforcing the understanding that the journey is a transformative one.

Yes, we must provide encouragement. We also must keep the call present with ongoing reminders, provision of resources, effective equipping, and heartfelt exhortation.

For some, you may also consider extending financial support, a pivotal factor in empowering others to actively pursue their divine calling.

As we hear and respond to the mandate God has placed upon our lives, join me in praising God for His faithfulness. Answering His call is not only a life-changing experience for the individual, but also an example of His church at work.

As we encourage and equip people to step into their calling, we make an investment in God’s plan, align our lives with God’s purpose, and strengthen the church as its members embrace the transformative power of Christ in living out the call on their lives.

At the Georgia Baptist Mission Board we know that we can do more together. In 2024, we are uniting in our efforts to “Call out the Called.”  As we champion one another, encourage one another to faithful service, and challenge one another to identify and nurture the call in younger leaders, we wait in expectancy for what God will continue to do in our state and beyond.

Published April 4, 2024