How Do You Know if God is Calling You to Ministry?

Apr 1

He told me to ignore the call of God, and it was the best advice I ever received.

I was sixteen. God had been working on me. Not like cleaning out a few cobwebs kind of work. He was knocking down walls and rearranging the basic structure of things. I knew, well I thought I knew, that He was calling me to some type of ministry.

I pictured myself in the Amazon rainforest passing out tracts and cold chills went up my spine. Each intake of breath felt heavy, like I couldn’t get enough air. How do you know?

How do you know when God is calling you to a deeper place with Him? How do you know if God is asking you to be in ministry? Or even more daunting – missions? Just the word brought to mind the tiny black and white photos of the missionaries in the back of the Open Windows devotionals we used to read at the breakfast table.

I took my shaky questions to someone I knew would have the answers. Someone wise in the ways of the Lord – my grandfather.

My Pop, as we called him, was a preacher. He retired after 50 years in the ministry, but couldn’t stay away and was doing interim pastoral work to supplement the time he spent in his garden.

Sure no one else was around, I dropped my big question and waited. “Pop, how do you know when God is calling you into the ministry?”

His hands stilled on the mail in his lap as he turned to look at me. “Ignore it.”

I’m sure my mouth hung open because those were not the words I was expecting to come out of Pop’s mouth. “Ignore…God?” I didn’t understand.

“Ignore the calling. The best way to know if God is really calling you is to ignore it. If He does really have a calling on your life, He won’t leave you alone. There will come a point where it will be obvious. You won’t question it anymore, and you’ll know with confidence God’s plan for you.”

I let that sink in a minute, the velour sticking to the backs of my sweaty legs, and took a deep breath. I didn’t have to worry about it. The ministry train wasn’t going to pass by if I was unsure about whether or not to get on board. God would make it obvious.

And guess what? He did.

Perhaps you’ve heard God whisper. And you’ve wondered. Wondered if He’s really speaking to you. Is He calling you to some kind of ministry or the mission field? Is He asking you to open your heart to adoption?

I offer the advice of a wise old preacher and tell you, “Ignore it. Just for a time, because if God’s really trying to get your attention, He will. Trust me.”

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 NIV

****Today is the day!! Today is the release of the Guideposts book I co-authored. If you received this by email, click on the link to my site. Look in the upper right-hand corner. If you are interested, you can order from there. 🙂

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  • Tamara Apr 1 at 2:21 pm

    Good stuff! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Tamara Apr 1 at 2:22 pm

    Good stuff! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Joanne Sher Apr 1 at 4:15 pm

    Carol – this is an absolutely AWESOME post. Fabulous reminder. AND congrats on the book! WOOWOO

  • Amy Sullivan Apr 1 at 5:30 pm

    What great advice from your grandfather! I feel as if it is true with my life right now.

    God started whispering He wanted me to write. I thought no way. I battled back and forth with him for awhile. . .what do I possibly have to say? Now I'm just trying to follow. Who knows where it will lead. . .maybe nowhere, but I'm following anyway!

    Oh, I just saw your last email in my spam folder.Look for a response soon!

    • Gloria Aug 17 at 9:42 am

      I realy dot know wat to said in my own situation now.i want to know thde truth 4rm God if i was cal but ds stories impress me. I thank i wil ingnore it

  • Kelly Combs Apr 1 at 11:41 pm

    What a hook! That opening line was awesome. I love your writing. Congrats on the Guideposts publication! I had a story published in one of their books in September. Thrilling! So congrats!

  • Darla MILLER Apr 2 at 9:24 pm

    Such wise thinking! It is so true…when God wants us to do something, there is no way we can run from it and hide! How awesome is that?! 🙂

  • Dawne M. Parker Jul 29 at 9:54 pm

    Cute blog. Good advice!

  • Dawne M. Parker Jul 29 at 9:55 pm

    Cute blog. Wise advice!

  • Brady Granstaff Nov 6 at 2:16 am

    So incredbly true, everytime I think about doing something that isn’t Young Life my heart goes back to it. Thank you for sharing this.

  • John-Noble Jul 29 at 6:57 pm

    I am captivated by this post.

    I always denied the fact that God could be calling me, even when i had dreams that seemed so real. I prayed against them, but could hardly erase from my mind. I always rejected the thought whenever it sprang up within me.

    I knew my personality didn’t fits the ministry work, but over time, about 5 years after, God performed some surgery on my entire person. I surrendered many things about my self to Him in bits. I became broken and yielded to God. I started yearning to be a worthy laborer in His vineyard.

    No more arguments, whatever He says…

  • `Noel Mar 27 at 1:20 pm

    thank you so much my heart is relieved i will wait and see if he truly needs me to do is work.God bless you for such advice

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