Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Call

Imagine that you are facing the interview panel of a denomination seeking their support to be a pastor-teacher. What questions might they ask? Hopefully, they would want to know about your conversion; they should have consulted with your church about your character; they should also seek to know what your reputation is like with non-believing people; and, they should ensure that your gifting matches those required to teach the Word and so lead in a local church.

There is one other question they are likely to ask you, 'tell us about your sense of call?' Problem is, I am not sure that this is a biblical question. In 1 Timothy 3 it speaks about the character and reputation of the person who desires to be an overseer; it also gives the criteria that they should be able to teach; but, there is no mention of a "sense of call".

I wonder if we put to much emphasis on some vague, ill-defined subjective impression. We read the account of Samuel being woken by the voice of God, suggest that this was somehow a normative experience, replace the miraculous voice with a 'feeling' and call this 'the call to ministry'.

One other thing. Folk wisdom that I have heard goes like this: 'if you "feel" called to the ministry try to do anything else, and only give in to the "call", if it simply won't go away.' However, in I Timothy 3 it talks of those who 'desire' to be overseers. Should this ministry be something that we move towards, rather than run from?


Mister Spence said...


Loving this.

Did you chat about this to that guy on our master's course? He was studying this exact thing.

To whom it may concern said...

My thoughts were informed by reading a book entitled, 'Decision making and the will of God'. I did think of that guy's presentation. Do you think that a 'subjective' sense of call is something we put an undue emphasis on in Methodism?

Mister Spence said...

Very definitely.

Maybe not chat about this in the public sphere at the moment, though!