I sat across the table from this young man and thought, “Who else is going to ask him?” That’s when I finally understood how great my responsibility was to call out the called. 

Most of us grow up with dreams. Big dreams. Dreams to make a difference in the world, dreams to make a lot of money, dreams to do something we love for the rest of our lives. We have parents, family members, and teachers asking us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The younger we are, the loftier those dreams seem to be. 

As we move into high school the question shifts from, “What do you want to be?” to, “What are you going to major in when you get to college?”  

And as we get to college the question shifts to, “What internship are you going to get?” and “What company do you plan to work for when you graduate?”  

And after college the question shifts to, “How far up do you want to go in this company?”  

During the years of high school and college, students seem to be bombarded with questions about their future. Every time they introduce themselves in a new class they are expected to share their major and dreams for their future work. There is, of course, a social pressure to have it all figured out – which leads to anxiety for some (but that’s not the point of this article.)  

But out of all the professors, the friends, and extended family members in their lives, how many of them ever ask a student this question: “Do you think God may be calling you to ministry?”  

In my personal estimation, a student leader within our Baptist Collegiate Ministries may be asked once a week what their major is and what they plan to do with it (that’s well over 100 times in four years). But that same student leader may be asked once over the course of  four years if God may be calling them to vocational ministry. 

As I sat across the table from this young man I was thinking two things:  

  1. I really think this guy may be called to ministry and I feel like I should tell him. 
  1. I know he has 5-6 different people telling him different things he should do with his future, so I don’t want to overwhelm him. 

As I was wrestling with those competing thoughts it dawned on me. There may be no one else in his life that is going to tell him he may be called to ministry. It’s not their fault, they are seeing him succeed in business classes and within his major. They are seeing him win over people in his internship. They are seeing him advance the company in new ways. 

They aren’t seeing him shepherd people with a compassionate heart. They aren’t seeing him lead worship with a keen awareness of the Spirit. They aren’t seeing him lead and teach Bible studies. They aren’t having conversations with him about how hard he’s working to follow Jesus and live holy. They aren’t seeing the clear anointing from God to do His work.  

So who else is going to tell him? I must.  

And we must.  

Pastors, ministry leaders. We need to operate under the assumption that no one else is going to tell these young, godly, humble leaders that they ought to consider if God is calling them to ministry.  

We are the people God has appointed to raise up the next generation of church leaders. 2 Timothy 2:2 says, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will teach others also.” That passage, even though it’s doubtless a discipleship passage to the entire church, needs to be recognized as an older pastor writing to a younger pastor. An older pastor, telling a younger pastor, “pay attention to the faithful people and teach them all you know so they can teach others also.”  

So I’ll end with a simple question. Who is it in your ministry that may need to consider if they are called to vocational ministry? I urge you to have the conversation. You may be the only one in their life that’s able to have that conversation with them. 

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