The Messenger :: Communication of a Call
Sharing our call and mission with others can be one of the most basic and complicated aspects of connecting with others in Kingdom work. If only it was as simple to communicate our missions as the great Inigo Montoya makes it seem.
He’s concise, straightforward, honest, and clear. Most of us can recite his elevator speech verbatim. We can probably all conjure up that iconic scene from The Princess Bride where he uses that phrase as a rallying cry to finally defeat the six-fingered man. His mission was not only what he openly shared with others, it was what guided him in each step of his journey and, ultimately, what allowed him to gather the strength to complete his mission.
We can often get heavy worded in our explanations of what God has called us to in His Kingdom. This month’s messenger hopes to alleviate some of that tension. Caleb Southerland , our Executive Officer, is going to unpack a few ways in which we can communicate our call to others in a clear and concise way that does not sacrifice depth and meaning.
Our prayer for this month is that your words will be God’s words. That your conversations with others will be God speaking Kingdom truth, that others will be blessed by hearing what God has called you to, and that He will rise up for workers for the harvest!
Thank you for sending in feedback and sharing how The Messenger has been helpful to you. We are blessed to be a part of God’s mission alongside you. We are always looking for ways to better guide, serve, and support, so your thoughts and feedback are always a blessing to us. Feel free to drop us a note and tell us what you think .
Better Together: Addressing Disciple Maker Resiliency and Attrition
Communication of a Call
It was 7:00am and I was waiting outside my house for my new boss to pick me up for my first day on the job. At 16-years of age, I had been given the important job as assistant tile-setter. Not really knowing at the time what my job was going to be, I quickly learned it meant hauling 5-gallon buckets of cement up several flights of stairs. Every day. Multiple times a day.
After picking me up, the conversation shifted from small-talk about our weekends and my boss asked me, “So, why are you here?” Awkwardly I said “For a job.” He quickly replied, “Not a good reason.”
“Hmm … to make money?”
“Still not a good reason.”
“Uh … maybe so I can get a new truck and pay for college?”
“There you go!”
Then he proceeded to give me some of the most transformative advice that has remained with me. “Caleb, if you don’t know the “why,” then commitments you make will ride on whether you enjoy it or whether you see it working. And if you can’t communicate your ‘why,’ then nobody will follow or invest in you.”
Several times throughout that first summer, usually when it was 3:00pm, 107 degrees, and I had carried up my 34th bucket of cement, he would look at me and ask, “Caleb, what’s your why?” Initially, I would roll my eyes and walk off. But without fail, he would make me come back and tell him the why. He knew that if I remembered the why, I would keep working hard.
Toward the end of the summer, one Friday after dropping me off, he asked me to tell him my “why” with enthusiasm and excitement before giving me my paycheck. Depending how well I did, he would give me a little “bonus” and say, “Keep working on telling your why. People will invest in you if your why is important.”
By God’s grace, the passion for work has grown from “Getting a new truck” to “Seeing God’s story unfold as He expands His Kingdom throughout the world.” And the need to be able to communicate the “why” to myself during difficult times and for others as God calls me to tell His Story.
Over the last 12 years of ministry and missions, I’ve learned five things when it comes to communicating the “why” in God’s calling to me in His story that I wanted to share with you.
Don’t Oversell the Outcome. I have huge hopes and dreams of what I believe God could do through me. However, too often I share the hopes and dreams louder than I share the reality of what God is REALLY doing. Don’t oversell the outcome. Live in the moment.
Make Jesus the Hero of the Story. We all know that God is the center of the Story. Jesus is the main character of the Gospel. Nevertheless, when I write my newsletter or meet with a donor, I can easily get caught up in telling the story as if I’m the hero of the story, not Jesus. When telling your story, always make Jesus the Hero of the story.
Know What Your Call Is. Get Specific. I once asked a friend what he did for a living. He responded, “I give kids the tools, knowledge, and direction they need to have a successful future.” Quizzically I asked, “Where do you do that?” He responded, “Washington Junior High. I teach 7th grade math.” He knew his calling was greater than his title, the job, or the place of business. As missionaries, we can get caught up in the busyness and messiness of the job and lose sight of our calling. Continue to go back and allow God to remind you of your calling.
Have Courage in Your Call. Your call came to you BY God, FOR God. This is the purpose of Galatians 1:10: For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servantof Christ. When you communicate the realities of the field, communicate the call God has placed on your life. Not your hopes, successes, or failures.
Communicate Your Call. Here’s how to do this more effectively:
Don’t get technical, tell a story—Your calling is not your method, it’s the story God’s called you into.
Know and tell who the hero is—Jesus is the hero of your story. When communicating your calling, the “Who is calling you” to join His story should be the loudest part of the story.
Tell what your role is in the story—Your role is important, it is why God called you to play that role. Don’t downplay it or hide it, tell your role in the greater story.
When you tell the “why” of your calling as part of a much larger Kingdom story, it gives clarity to what you do, it takes the pressure off the tension between success and failure, and it gives glory to God. Because ultimately, that’s who it’s for .