Vocation

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I’ve agreed to teach a seminar/class on the subject of vocation for the church starting in January! I’m not sure what night it will be offered but I’m looking forward to a rich time of thinking deeply about the subject of vocation/calling with others and incorporating aspects of spiritual formation. In fact, I’m hoping that this becomes a distinctive of the young adult ministry… equipping adults to live out Kingdom priorities in the midst of their vocation and figuring it out with each other!

Overall, my sense is that there is much confusion about vocation and calling and I hope to reduce that. One of the most obvious problems is that there seems to be a split between vocation and calling. When I use the word “vocation”, what do you think of immediately? Most people would probably respond something like, “my job.” But if I asked for their calling, I would probably get blank looks. If people were completely honest I think they would ask me, “How were you called by God to ministry?” In other words, vocation is for the average person and callings are reserved for those in Christian work. Somehow we have perpetuated this idea that the two are different. But are they?

I hope to tackle a number of questions. Here are a few William Placher lists in his book, “Callings” (I might even make this required reading for the class).

  • How do I know what I’m called to do?
  • Is there one right answer to the question of my calling?
  • Can I make a mistake, and not do what God has called me to do? if so, what are the consequences?
  • Can my vocation change?

As I’m in the prep phrase for the class are any other questions I should tackle? What have you wrestled with as it relates to vocation and calling? What aspects of your work need to clarified with the biblical understanding of work? As always, I’m looking forward to any feedback you have!

One thought on “Vocation

  1. Well, I don’t want to look like “that” guy, but I had a pastor once who preached on “Vocation” some months ago and HE taught that Vocation meant “calling”, so…. 🙂
    I have so many thoughts on this. I love this topic. As a Dad, I’m constantly encouraging my kids to do “something” with their lives – and *gasp!* – it might not be through college (like un-formally-educated me)!
    I’m teaching them TWO THINGS with regards to Vocation: Pursue God. Do your best.
    To me, this is the summation of Loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Pursue Him. Do your best. If we seek His Will – we will find that trusting, depending upon Him for PROVISION of our MINISTRY (That is, our life!) is the thing that is important… Calling… Vocation… call it what you want. To me, it means little more than “where I am currently stationed in the Army of God”. regardless of my tasking, my job is the same: Tell people about Jesus. Abide in Him. Pray for His Will. Or as Dallas Willard says, Read the Red letters, then go do that.
    I gotta stop now,Jon! So much to talk about on this subject! I’m starting to ramble. Gotta get to work.
    We’re having a very good discussion about this right now in my office since I mentioned it!

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