Ryan is the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory, NC. He is the host of the "In The Room" podcast, and the author of 8 Hours, Or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster.  

How Clear Is Your Calling?

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In early 2006, I was working as a Worship Pastor at a church about 40 minutes from where we planted Redemption.

One Tuesday night, as I sat in one of the many meetings that pastors attend each week, I heard God speak to me more clearly than ever before. Before you panic, I'm not someone who "hears God speak" every day. This was an experience I had never had before and one I haven't had since. God said three things:

1. Your journey will never be easy.

2. I haven't called you to follow men.

3. I've called you to plant a church.

This was an overwhelming experience for obvious reasons. I got in my car and immediately came unglued. Now, we all know there is a respectable way for a grown man to cry, but I assure you there was nothing respectable about the way I fell apart. I was crying like a girl who got dumped at prom – not my finest moment.

You see, this calling wasn't on my radar. I was content. I was newly married, living in a new apartment, and working a new job that I loved. I was happier than I had ever been. Yet God's call on my life was so clear, I couldn't deny it. I confirmed this call with five or six mature and trusted Christian brothers and sisters, and then Tami and I went through a formal assessment with the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. All these sources confirmed the already clear call of God on my life.

A clear sense of calling is one of the greatest gifts God has given you.

On the days when ministry is difficult, draining, or even personally devastating, I never doubt that I'm where God wants me. If your calling isn't clear, it's inevitable that at some point you’re going to think, "This is too hard. Is this really what God's called me to?"

You may not be a church planter, pastor, or even a church leader. Maybe you work in an office, raise kids, make coffee, build something, or work in retail. Regardless of who you are and what you do, God has a call on your life. Do you know what it is? Is it clear to you?

A clear sense of calling keeps you committed when it gets tough – and it will get tough.

So what has God called you to? Have you confirmed that call? How clear is your calling?

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