Tuesday, March 25, 2008

EJ Interview with George O. Wood pt2

George O. Wood. General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in America on "the call":
When I was pastoring, I invited Morris Williams to hold a missions convention. He was field director (now called regional director) for Africa. I respected Williams. He had a sterling record as a missionary. I took him to lunch after Sunday morning service. I asked, “Brother Williams, how did you receive your call?”

He said, “George, I never had a call. I read in the Gospels where Jesus was taking volunteers, and I up and volunteered.”

I had never heard anyone give that explanation before. It challenged me. Since then I have studied the call in Scripture. I now realize there is a continuum on the call — everything from the divine voice to William’s volunteering. Certainly, God equipped Williams with the gifts and graces for his calling. God also granted me the desire of my heart. I wanted to be a minister.

When we talk about the call to ministry we need to be careful not to project that everyone is called the same way. God uses a variety of ways to put us where He wants us. For me, it was a quiet desire that began to well up in my heart. From that time on, I was on the trajectory to go into the ministry. The only other occupation I ever considered was law and politics.

When I was a junior in college I had an offer to be an intern in a congressional office. I came to a crisis at that point. I had to make a decision whether to accept that opportunity or continue toward ministry.
I like this comment because it is how things have been for me as well - I have never had this explicit "call from God" at the altar kind of experience. For me it has been more of a process of understanding my own personality, desires, values, and giftings. When I put two and two together going into the ministry be it pastoring or missions, it just made the most sense to me and it is a good fit. So if you are out there and think you have to have some awe inspiring divine call to go into the ministry then be free of that and follow God in whatever way you feel him leading you! Yes, there can be the awe inspiring divine call from God but it is not that way for all people all the time and I think that has kept some people from following the Lord in they way they sense his leading.




At 1:22 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

I suspect that the people who get "the awe inspiring divine call from God" are those who have not listened to his more gentle nudges in the same direction. God had to use a donkey to speak to Balaam because he hadn't listened before that.

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Brian said...

You're probably right Peter. Also, those with the awe inspiring call need to test it a bit as well as some follow it without waiting and find themselves hating ministry later after they've burned out.

I think God tends to give people a lot more freedom of choice when it comes to occupations than many may argue for or realize.

For example, I could be a teacher, a social worker, or minister - even in ministry I could decide to pastor or be a chaplain, or follow God into cross-cultural missions. Fortunately I can do a bit of all this being a pastor in my present situation.


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