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Engage My Soul

"Clarifying Our Calling"

INTRODUCTION

Who am I? What is my life about? What should I be living for?

Christ’s mission in the world is not a mystery. He gives clear instructions to his disciples about what he wants them to do while they wait for his return: to go into all the world, baptizing all people in the name of the triune God, and teaching everyone to obey everything Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:18-20).

Every Christian is a member, or “body part,” of Christ’s body, of which he himself is the head. Just as the head of a human body coordinates the entire body toward a single aim (e.g., walking up stairs, raking the yard), so too Christ, the Head of the Church, coordinates his entire body toward a single aim—the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

If the Great Commission is the orienting purpose of the body, and if we are all members of Christ’s body, directed toward this singular mission by the Head of the body, then this means each of us has a unique part to play in the fulfillment of that mission. Not everyone is an eye, the apostle Paul reminds us, lest the body have no sense of hearing; nor is everyone an ear, lest the body have no sense of smell (1 Corinthians 12:17). We all together, as many parts of the body, make up the one body and contribute uniquely to Christ’s singular aim of making his gospel known to the world.

But what is our personal contribution to Christ’s mission in the world? How do we know what unique role we are called to play? Above all, we want clarity from God about our unique missional calling—the unique way we are designed, called, and gifted to contribute to Christ’s mission in the world. Achieving this clarity is the aim of this four-part study guide.

Context, Gifting, and Passions

This study invites you to engage in a spiritual discernment process, as you seek clarity about what God may be calling you to do. Identifying your unique missional calling comes from prayerful reflection on three things:

Context

Clarity on your unique missional calling is deepened by considering the place in life that God, in his providential wisdom, has caused you to occupy. What are the unique challenges and opportunities of your context (i.e., your community, your family, your work environment, your neighborhood)? Where are you located? Who are the people around you? What opportunities and challenges are part of your context?

Gifting

Clarity regarding your unique missional calling comes from a deep sense of your endowment of grace, or Spirit-given gifting. It comes from a rich understanding of what God has equipped you to do. What special gifts and capacities do you have? What is the unique story and experience that shapes who you are and the part you play in God’s purposes? What skills do you possess? What gifts (i.e., graces) has God built into your life—whether through experience, training, or natural ability?

Passions

Clarity regarding your unique missional calling is deepened when you consider your most dearly held convictions and passions. What aspects of Christ’s kingdom work most deeply resonate with you? What areas of need stir your compassion and energy? What drives you and gets you out of bed in the morning?

God has created each of us uniquely with different gifting and passions. He has placed us in unique contexts. The place where these three areas—context, gifting, and passions—converge sheds light on our missional calling.

STUDY GUIDE FORMAT

Just like the church in Antioch (Act 13:1-3), when Paul and Barnabas were sent out on mission, the Holy Spirit speaks to us through the Christian community. As such, this guide is designed to be used together with your small group. But it can also be used to guide individual reflection.

This study guide is divided into four chapters. The first chapter invites you to embrace your context. The second chapter bids you to grasp your God-given gifts and abilities. The third chapter admonishes you to pursue your passions. And the final chapter guides you to prayerfully reflect on how this all comes together to clarify and cultivate God’s unique calling on your life. If you are doing this study in a small group, the final section of each chapter invites you to share with your group your personal insights from each week and allows space for you to write down feedback you receive from fellow groups members.

The most important aspect of discovering God’s call on your life is having a posture of submission, and a willingness to follow wherever Christ leads. As you begin each chapter, take time to present yourself again as a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) and pray that the Lord would make his will known to you, for your joy, and for the sake of Christ and his kingdom.