Called to Mission?

by Ruth Brooker
Posted on 1st August 2005

Immediately anyone says to me that they have a 'call to mission', I want to ask two questions...
"What does 'call' mean?" and
"What is 'mission'?"

In Os Guiness's excellent book (The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life) he talks about the calling of God operating on two levels:
- The first is our primary calling as followers of Christ.
- The second is the daily living out of our personal gifts and abilities in such a way that God is glorified (our vocation).

The challenge is to hold the two together and in the right order.

We tend to make two common mistakes:
- To make a division between sacred and secular service to God whereby those in "full-time Christian service" are perceived to be in a different category from all the rest, and
- The inversion of the order of the two callings, promoting the secondary at the expense of the primary, thus elevating the "Protestant work ethic."

How we work out our secondary calling will be different for each of us because we've all been gifted in different ways. CV's designate programme is a step-by-step programme which helps people to think through the important issues.

The other question is "What is mission?"

If you want to be involved in mission you can do that right where you are. Mission doesn't require you to learn another language and move overseas. Mission is what we do everyday, if that primary calling (the relationship with Jesus) has a right place in our lives.

So...what steps should be taken by someone who feels God is calling them to cross-cultural work in a Christian context. I would suggest the following:

- Ask God what this sense of call means and pray that you might know how to interpret and act upon it.
- Talk with church leaders and those who know you best. Share your thoughts and feelings with them and see how they respond. Ask people to pray for you.
- Think about whether there's a specific people group or area of the world to which you feel drawn.
- Find out what qualifications and language skills are needed and whether you need to do any further study.
- Do some research and see which organisations or church groups work in the area that you're interested in.

Once you have a clearer idea of the area of the world you feel called to work in, or the people group you would like to work amongst, you can begin to narrow the field considerably. Make contact with the organisations that are of most interest and ask for some introductory materials. Read through these and see which you feel most drawn to. In this way you can start to define what 'Called to Mission' means for you.

Ruth Brooker served as Vocations Consultant with Christian Vocations, coordinating CV's designate programme offering insight, teaching, help and advice for Christians who are seeking a future in God's service.