10 Essential Characteristics of an Effective International Church Planter: #2 Calling

Curt and I have already blogged about “Calling” in previous posts, so I will keep this one brief.

A Christian is someone who believes in, trusts, and obeys Jesus as Lord and Savior.  And what was one of the commands that Jesus gave his disciples? Follow Me.  This command is repeated 23 times in the Gospels.  So it should come as no surprise that our calling as Christians is to Follow Jesus..where ever He leads.

But all too often, potential church planters tell us of their supposed calling to a particular people group or a particular place in the world.  This is an important distinction to make.  If we serve because we are “called” to a particular people or place, rather than serving the Lord who called us to Follow Him, then our calling is misguided. Our service to a particular people or place is a response to our desire and “calling” to serve Christ first and foremost.

For those who are called to take the Gospel to unreached people groups in an overseas context, we ask three questions of them:

a. Can they communicate a compelling personal calling? Do others recognize their call?

b. Are they ready to work hard to see this calling fulfilled?

c. For couples – does their spouse share their call? Do their children support their call?

While following Jesus may indeed take you to a specific place or people, which may or may not be limited to the United States, calling is not defined by geography. When we willingly surrender our lives to Christ, we do so without condition.

Lord, I will follow you where ever you send me and do whatever you tell me to do, regardless of what that means. That is our calling.

Next: #3 Healthy Marriage and Family


From Saint Augustine’s Confessions..

Whenever I need a good book to read, I just ask my son Jordan. He reads theology for fun, has great taste in literature, and is always reading several good books at one time. It’s been a while since he told me to read Augustine’s “Confessions.” Since he reads allllllllll the time, he gets through a lot more books than I do in a year. So I’m a little behind. I just started reading it this week and was hooked from the first page when I read this, which is often quoted..

The thought of you stirs him (man) so deeply that he cannot be content unless he praises you, because you made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you.”

And then I found this when I turned the page, I found this..Needless to say, now I can’t put this book down.

What, then, is the God I worship? He can be none but the Lord God himself, for who but the Lord is God? What other refuge can there be, except our God? You, my God, are supreme, utmost in goodness, mightiest and all-powerful, most merciful and most just. You are the most hidden from us and yet the most present amongst us, the most beautiful and yet the most strong, ever enduring and yet we cannot comprehend you. You are unchangeable and yet you change all things. You are never new, never old, and yet all things have new life from you. You are the unseen power that brings decline upon the proud. You are ever active, yet always at rest. You gather all things to yourself, though you suffer no need. You support, you fill, and you protect all things. You create them, nourish them, and bring them to perfection. You seek to make them your own, though you lack for nothing. You love your creatures, but with a gentle love. You treasure them, but without apprehension. You grieve for wrong, but suffer no pain. You can be angry and yet serene. Your works are varied, but your purpose is one and the same. You welcome all who come to you, though you never lost them. You are never in need yet are glad to gain, never covetous yet you exact a return for your gifts. We give abundantly to you so that we may deserve a reward; yet which one of us has anything that does not come from you? You repay us what we deserve, and yet you owe nothing to any. You release us from our debts, but you lose nothing thereby. You are my God, my Life, my Holy Delight, but is this enough to say of you? Can any man say enough when he speaks of you? Yet woe betide those who are silent about you! For even those who are most gifted with speech cannot find words to describe you.”