by Mark Entzminger/ September 6, 2018
The “Call of God” has been a phrase I’ve heard since I was a child. Whether it was during a camp service, from a missionary, or an elder in our church, I grew up knowing God could speak to me and give me direction for my life.
In fact, that’s part of my story. God spoke to me as a young teenager, calling me into full-time ministry. My grandmother recalled when, at 12 years of age, she knelt at her “altar” (a rock out in the pasture) and heard God call her to minister to the children.
Over the past few years, however, the tables have turned. Now I’m a parent of two emerging young men who are both beginning to express God’s call on their life. Additionally, I’m now speaking at kids camps and wanting to help kids begin to discern His voice and know that He has a plan for each of them.
So, how do we steward the call of God? How do we help children confirm that God has spoken to them, and help them respond with wisdom beyond their years?
We must remember that everyone is “called.” If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19,20) applies to you. It is your “calling” to share the good news of Jesus Christ and “make disciples” with those around you.
This is often missed. All too often people think the ”calling” is only for those who are involved in vocational ministry because that is how it is most frequently used. However, the greatest calling is to rescue those who are perishing—and it applies to us all! This does not require a paycheck for the work done, but rather a passion to introduce people to their Heavenly Father.
Every Christ-follower is called to share the gospel.
Absolutely! God speaks to people of all ages and gives them direction regarding their life. He leads people with general direction (become a missionary or church planter) and even specific direction (serve in Palau or plant your church in Cleveland).
Whether it’s God speaking directly to the individual, or the person seeing the incredible need and knowing they must act, the call comes in various forms.
For this article, however we are going to focus more on children who report hearing God speak to them and providing them with a direction for their life which we refer to as being “called.”
How do kids confirm the “call”?
This is where stewarding the call becomes a larger focus for parents and children’s leaders.
Let me start this segment by telling you something to avoid. Although you want to celebrate with the child in hearing God’s voice, I recommend not announcing this information all over social media.
The rapid spreading of what your child has shared with you will change how they process the next steps in life. In most cases their little minds and emotions are not yet ready for the pressure that will follow. Unfortunately, the way some people will respond make it seem as if the “seed” of God’s calling has already become a fully-rooted tree.
So what do you do?
Be patient! Often the journey between where they are and the fulfillment of that call can be several years or even decades. Placing undue pressure on them can create challenges, misunderstandings, and even resentment.
So to better confirm the call, I recommend the following rule of thumb: The bigger the call the more time you should take in asking God to confirm it through multiple sources.
For the balance of this article, we’ll assume the calling is to some form of vocational ministry. Here are some tips to help confirm the call.