Explore Calling

The God's Calling Map will be introduced in Part 3 of the series and is central to discerning God's call in this model.
The God’s Calling Map will be introduced in Part 3 of the series and is central to discerning God’s call in this model.

What is God calling me to do?

God calls persons to all kinds of careers, but many Christians struggle to know what God is calling them to do. This series of posts explains a theology of Christian vocation and explains the various aspects of discerning calling. This is new model for considering vocation that I hope will organize and simplify the discernment process. All of the components of discernment that I discuss here have been been said many times by others, but this is a unique and hopefully more simple way to organize those components.

This isn’t just for people considering God’s call to church ministry (pastor, missionary, youth ministry, and so on), but is certainly useful for that. Rather it is a pattern for discerning God’s calling on our lives in every arena, from career to family, to community.

My hope is that youth and college ministers will use these with young people that are actively trying to discern God’s will for their lives. But I also trust that they will be helpful for persons of all ages as they make the most critical decisions of their lives. I am certain that we do not end our quest for God’s call on our lives when we land our first job.

Each post also has Discernment Exercise to help you explore further. These can be done alone or be led by a mentor or group leader.

Download the Vocation Inventory to get started.

Table of Contents:

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 1): Understanding Christian Calling

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 2): God’s Will Is Not a Secret

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 3): Discovering What You Were Made To Do

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 4): It’s All About Passion

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 5): Find The Song That Makes Your Heart Dance and Set to “Repeat”

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 6): When Anger Is An Act Of Discipleship

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 7): What Is That In Your Hand?

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 8): You Can’t Fix The Plumbing With A Basketball

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 9): Minister from Your Experience

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 10): Pay Attention to Who You Are

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 11): Missio Dei and the Unique You

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 12): Understanding God’s Calling Is Really Easy

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 13): Special Issues For High School and College Students

What Am I Called to Do? (Part 14): Sources For Discovering the Call


  1. says

    I’ve seen some of your posts on CBE’s Facebook page (and responded to the one looking for churches with women pastors – thanks for the listing). Glad to find you here, too. I see we also have in common a passion for helping people discover their sense of calling. Look forward to reading more.

  2. jeanine7799 says

    Great post! Lots of good food for thought and I like how suggest practically separating passions,tools and needs. Really interesting…never thought of it quite like this and would be very much interested in continuing to read parts 9-14. When will you be posting 9 next? Blessings, Jeanine

    • says

      Great question!

      Honestly, I’ve been writing some other things and have slowed on these a lot. I still plan to finish the series but I’m working on a different book project. If I could help individually with your own discernment journey then please let me know! If be glad to have an email exchange.

  3. Bob Hastings says

    I have to read more of what you’ve written and I WILL. My first impression is of your title and the first several sentences and I must say…I have the same reaction that I have to anyone who talks about God’s “calling” and God’s “will” for any specific person. There are examples in the bible of people for whom God had a calling. They didn’t mistake it for anything else and they certainly couldn’t avoid it: Adam, Moses, Abraham, Jonah, etc. There are many, MANY people who also existed throughout the “bible times” for whom we see no specific calling. Did they lack the information in your blog? Maybe, I’ll read it and see what you have to say. My theory is, “no”. God does not have a specific “calling” or “plan” for you. Why do I think that? Well, it assumes that God says that something should happen and that you have the power to keep that from happening. Answer me this….If God knows everything and yet you can do something that prevents His “plan” or His “calling” from taking place….that kind punches “omniscience” in the face. It’s a pretty lousy omnipotent, omniscient God who can be foiled by “Ed, the guy down the block”. So what does God mean when He says He has a “plan”? Well how about this? How about we go by His Son’s most recent testimony on His will. Look up what Jesus said when He was asked about the “greatest commandment”. Jesus actually gave an answer! It wasn’t about a calling or anything else even more specific. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Do what you do for LOVE. Not for satisfaction, peace, pleasure, righteousness, pride, or anything else.Too many times we get bogged down by, “God’s plan” (God makes no “plan”, He “does”), or God’s will, (if you could thwart God’s will you have more than free will, you are equal to God….you aren’t). LIVE….LOVE as Jesus loved

    • says

      You SHOULD read more, Bob. 🙂

      Actually I agree with basically all that you say here. The only part that is missing is that we still have to make decisions about how we will pursue discipleship (a term that I think is more holistic and robust than “love”). Making one decision or another matters very much to God, not because it will thwart his will, but because they are both indications and formative for discipleship.

      Consider a simple scenario: How should Warren Buffett (if he were still Christian, though I don’t think his leaving the church negates God’s call) be involved with Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to provide housing? Participation with Habitat expresses love for neighbor AND helps to “bind up the broken-hearted” and provide a cup of cold water, etc. But Buffett (we will assume) has no building skills. Rather he can provide funding and would be denying his call to discipleship if he wasn’t giving (though he doesn’t have to give to this organization, but some that provide…back to the analogy). But the bricklayer down the street from me has little means, but has a skill that he can use to help…and he should. Wouldn’t either of them be denying their call to discipleship if they didn’t help out of their resources (Buffett) or their skills (bricklayer)?

      My wife on the other hand (we will presume) has no building skills or money (actually we do have means and have given to Habitat, but let’s assume). She has little to offer and therefore would not required to serve in this way, though we may argue that she could feed workers at lunch time, help where she could around the job site, and minister to the family that will receive the home. AHHHH, but WAIT! My wife was pastor of the congregation where the director of Habitat was a member and more than 50 of our congregation served with Habitat regularly. So her relationships actually did call her into service with this ministry and she would have been denying the call to discipleship (and ministry) to not share this ministry with them. She is now at a new church with little connection and hasn’t served with them for a couple years. Because of her relationship with them, she learned some new construction skills and took great joy in the work that she did on those houses.

      In this series, I argue that even though we have lots of choices in how we will serve, our general calling to discipleship actually will call us to take some specific actions. But, if we don’t follow through, it doesn’t thwart God’s sovereign plan…because he is sovereign and omniscient.

  4. Jeff says

    I found this series and was into it deeply only to discover that #10 through 14 have not been completed. Do you have plans to complete this series and if so, when? It looks like it has been since 2014 and it is now 2016.

    • says

      Thanks for your question, Jeff. I do plan to finish these but have been working on other projects. I think I will finish the series this summer because I will be using this material for another project as well. Sorry for the delay.

      Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve found them helpful. If a conversation would be helpful for your discernment process then I would welcome it.


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