Summary/conclusions of the findings
A great majority of the participants (68.5 + 15.8%) know with certainty that they are called and that the calling is from God as was revealed to them through the working of the Holy Spirit (43.4%). For many, this conviction of their calling has been known for a significant period of time – it is not a fleeting experience or a spur of the moment feeling.
Many participants (57%) have suppressed their calling in the past or are continuing to suppress it (11.4%) and therefor not living out their calling.
As Christians we are prone to make a few very common mistakes, which can have major destructive consequences (sometimes even more so than the results of common sins), namely:
1. We tend to underestimate God’s greatness. God wants us to constantly recognise His greatness. Or at least progressively grasp part of the extent thereof. In the Old Testament God regularly ensures His people of His greatness by declaring that He is the Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe.
Paul was convinced that the extent of God’s greatness surpasses our mental capacity. He therefore prays in his first prayer to the Ephesians that the Holy Spirit must reveal God to us so that we may know Him better (Eph 1:17). However, if we underestimate God’s greatness then we are living based on inaccurate facts, therefore making wrong decisions and even becoming prone to sin. As a Christian it is of absolute importance to allow the Holy Spirit to constantly convince us of God’s greatness.
Christianity is in the midst of a perfect storm! The authority of the Bible and Jesus Christ’s position as God’s Holy Son are assaulted at every turn and by every voice. Quick and easy answers from pulpits are just not good enough anymore. People are connected and exposed to a meticulously designed onslaught on core Biblical truths. If we do not rise to the challenge, our children will be left at the mercy of the Darkness.
We were called for a time like this! (Esther 4: 14) He is able to keep our calling safe till His glorious day (2 Timothy 1: 12) but we have to do everything possible to be as excellent as possible at our task. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed…” (2 Timothy 2: 15)
The challenges of our day demand of us to be craftsmen: people meticulously prepared and equipped for the task at hand.
Be ready and fully equipped for the day: the “great professor of all there is to know” tells our children that “there is no God in heaven and there is no hell below” (quote from Almost like the Blues, Leonard Cohen).
ATS is called to equip the leaders of tomorrow to extend God’s kingdom. We are compelled by the times we live in to make an urgent call for workers, to be equipped and sent into His harvest field (Luke 10: 2).
The church – the people of Jesus Christ – now lives in the final or the eschatological age. We are living between the times. Between the first coming and return of Christ. The period between his victory in the decisive battle between God and Satan and the day of final victory. Satan is the father of all evil and opposed to God. He, our biggest enemy, is defeated but not yet eliminated. For this reason Christian parents and children live on the battlefield. Christian parents and their children must be watchful and prepared for this spiritual battle (Eph. 6:10-18).
Paul (Rom. 8:20) asserts that after the Fall creation was subjected to futility (Gr. mataiotes), emptiness, frustration, sin, evil, disharmony, and apparent meaninglessness. This condition came after creation was complete. After the Fall, Adam and Eve and all their descendants lost their innocence and real freedom (Rom. 5:12). People not only commit sins but are sinners, and the nature of their children are inherently affected.
Pastoral Counselling offers the Church an immense opportunity for diverse ministry within both the congregation and the broader community. Pastoral counselling is normally perceived as an action that takes place only in a counselling room or study. The perception is also that this interaction is limited to the counsellor (or pastor acting as counsellor) and the one or more individuals who face a counselling crisis. This limited view has deprived pastoral counselling of its tremendous contribution to an assembly’s ministry potential.
We face many challenges in the post-modern societies that we live in. It is not only financial constraints and unemployment that people have to deal with. There are numerous other social challenges that the church has to address. In an assembly in close proximity to ATS, the pastor has discovered that more than 75% of his female congregants were abused at some stage in their lives as children. This has a dire effect on their adult functionality and on their experiencing God as a loving Father. Trauma experiences are part and parcel of our post-modern society, resulting in Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome in many peoples’ lives. Intimate partner abuse and family violence is rife in too many communities. The list is almost endless, describing the post-modern life-style that both Christians and non-Christians have to cope with on a daily basis.
Is theology important? I mean to say: Is it important to discuss theological matters or to study theology? Is theology of any concern to pastors in today’s world?
I have heard people commenting: “I am only a pastor or I am only a Christian and I am not practicing theology.” Sometimes the impression is created that you are a more God-orientated Christian when you are NOT practicing theology. This confuses me for, as a pastor, I am serious about God and doing His will.
Forgive me for attempting to discuss such a rich topic as theology in this short post. The word theology comes from two words: “Theos” (God) and “logos” (word), which means “words of God” or “talking about God”.
In 2 Timothy 1:12 Paul writes about the sustainability of his calling in the light of the many hardship and tribulations he is experiencing “and it is for this reason that I suffer these things. But I am still full of confidence, because I know whom I have trusted, and I am sure that he is able to keep safe until that Day what he has entrusted to me.” (GNT)
He gives our lives meaning by making us partakers in His triumphal procession. And then, when all kinds of trails and tribulations threaten to end this very calling and even our lives, He keeps that what He has entrusted to us (our calling) safe until the end.
We want to encourage you not to give up on your calling. Through His grace, you are part of a new nation that transcends all geographic borders, all cultural differences, all language and racial differences. It is a nation of people, who are washed by the blood of the Lamb, whose names are written in the book of life, and whose ruler is Christ Jesus.
What does it mean to be called by God? When did God call me? How does it happen? Are you special because you believe you are called? Must people call you pastor or by some other name? Does God treat you in a special way and should people treat you differently?
Are only pastors called by God? If not, what is the difference between other people called by God and a pastor called by God? Should they be in full-time ministry? Are there some misconceptions regarding God’s calling? Please help me, I am a pastor and I must understand my calling and myself.
Paul said God called him before his birth, while still in his mother’s womb. How did he know he was called?
I believe God called him for his ministry based on the fact that he wrote 13 books, which were taken up as part of God’s Holy Word, the Bible. The fruit of his life testified of his calling.