I was recounting my contemplation of “Who God has called me to be” vs “What God has called me to do” when my pastor started talking about little c (little calling) vs. the Big Calling (Big C). When talking about” calling” we are almost always referring to what God has called us to do while giving little thought to the bigger calling of Who God has called us to be.
As I think about this, I start to realize how integrated this line of thinking is with institutionalized church. When we as a ministry focus on “What God has called us to do”, we naturally seek to be successful which we often times meausure by how big, how many, and how far reaching the ministries of the church or organization are. In doing so we’ve developed systems and structures that by necessity require official positions in order to manage, administrate, and grow the “ministry.” As we come to feel “called towards ministry’ we understandably so, focus our “career goals” on these positions to be obtained. These positions become the validation by which we measure our leadership. All the while this emphasized pursuit of “What God has called us to do” eclipses “Who God has called us to be” thus contributing to the development of a culture that emphasizes behavior conformation over spiritual transformation, and rooting value and leadership in status and position, rather than character and who we are. In this way many ministers are no longer ministering but administering. In short ministry has become another “industry”.
Now, I am not saying that all churches, pastors, and ministers function in this manner.
I believe that God has used and called many, many, many pastors even within today’s institutionalized structures. Even some of the large mega churches, which may have started as and may still appear to be very institutionalized, are paving the way for many of us in organic ministry. In thinking about Westernized Christianity as a whole culture though, what we’ve done is flipped the script. We’ve flipped the C script and therefore the success script. We’ve flipped the importance of callings, making what we are supposedly “called to do’ more important than who we are “called to be”. As a natural result we’ve found our success in what we accomplish and achieve rather than our faithfulness and obedience. Success has become the measure of our faithfulness rather than faithfulness the measure of our success. As a result we have not been representing Christ for who He is but rather glorifying ourselves and our “religious corporations”, and hurting and burning many people in the process.
In recent years there have been efforts to change the culture of the western church by changing our appearance and at some level our approach and methods. While there has been some success, we’ve also succeeded in some regards at nothing more than repackaging the culture, so that it looks different, but the core substance remains untouched. In order to move towards a complete cultural shift, our deep perceptions of our world, relationship to God and each other, need to be renewed. (Romans 12:2 Be renewed therefore by the renewing of your mind)
Its time to re flip the script. Can you imagine what would happen to the culture of God’s people if we really began to transform the way we think about God’s calling. I think it could potentially transform the Church in the western hemisphere. What would happen? I would like to hear where your thoughts and meanderings on this topic take you? I’ll continue with mine in a bit.