Exploring the Vocational Call of Ministry

Exploring the Vocational Call of Ministry March 16, 2024

Called Out Podcast
Called Out is a podcast exploring being called to vocational ministry.

I have spent the last couple of months contemplating what I believe about being called to vocational ministry. From the summer after my 8th grade year, I have felt called to vocational ministry. But I have been asking others about their calling whether they serve vocationally or not. I have been pleasantly surprised to realize that my understanding and experience are both unique and similar. But even if you don’t feel called to vocational ministry, I think there are several questions to contemplate. Do you believe that the God of the universe has a specific job for you? At every point of your life?

The Spirit Leads

Depending on your denominational background, the Holy Spirit can be either an under-emphasized or even an over-emphasized part of your faith. Granted I come from a very conservative tradition in terms of acknowledging the Spirit, but I am striving to find balance.

Temples of God

Evangelical Christians will often use the term accepting Jesus into your heart when speaking of the moment and action involved in salvation. While the reality of this has been somewhat dampened over time, the phrase has a literal side. When Jesus becomes Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your body. The Spirit is God but is distinct from the Father and the Son. It is a mystery how that works, and how God comes to live in your heart, but it is no less true. God speaks to your inner being and gives you access to the gift and power of the Holy Spirit.

Every follower is granted gifts to use for the encouragement of fellow believers. These can include an amplification of your talents as well as supernatural gifting. Much like Jesus, we were giving these gifts and power not for our glory, but to bring glory to God. And to go along with these gifts, God has prepared work for us to do. And Jesus warned us not to waste or ignore the gifting.


Even beyond talents and work, some are called to specific roles. Some are called to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. There have been and will be many debates over what and how to understand each of those roles and titles. I won’t take up that mantle here in this short space. Rather, I want to emphasize that some are called to specific areas. Some are not. A question I am still chasing for answers is what this looks like in today’s culture and society. I do believe some are called to vocational ministry. But I wonder if vocational ministry may be a musical artist, a doctor, or a high school teacher.

Vocational Ministry

The summer following my 8th-grade year was a pivotal point in my spiritual journey. My junior high years were when I began to work through my doubts about God. I was raised in church and never felt oppressed or forced to choose my faith, but the time when faith became mine was after junior high. I went to a summer camp and had one of the few supernatural experiences I can clearly articulate.

I’ve never heard the audible voice of God. But I have had Him speak to my heart in such a way that I couldn’t ignore it. The first time was during the invitation time at summer camp. I knew I was saved, so I didn’t need to “go down front” for that. But my heart wouldn’t let me stay seated. So I got up, no clue what I was going to say. But when I got to the volunteer, out of my mouth came, “I want to rededicate my life and accept a call to ministry.” And that has been a foundational moment of my entire life.

In my life, I have been a youth intern, youth pastor, college intern, and pastor, and served on staff at a Christian summer camp. I have been licensed and ordained and have a Master of Divinity in pastoral care. Now I work at a ministry adjacent Christian organization. I am focused on learning how to be a church member and finding ways to use my gifts and talents that are more organic and less vocational. But that still drives me to wonder about and understand my own beliefs surrounding callings and vocation.

Called Out

So a year and a half ago, I started a podcast project, in some ways to fill the void of not being on staff at a church. And I started blogging for Patheos, although it is fair to say I am much more consistent with my podcast than I am with my writing. As part of this journey, I recently started a new podcast project to ask people in vocational ministry to share how they were called to vocational ministry. You can find it on Spotify or Apple Podcast by searching for “Called Out”.

While I had just gotten started with the project, I have already been surprised as I listened to each guest share about how they felt called to vocational ministry. Each one has been different, but I have found common experiences in each as well. I look forward to future episodes with plans to interview a wide variety of people in and around vocational ministry. My hope is to create and continue a discussion for all when thinking about how God gifts and calls us to vocation. I am just starting this journey, but I hope you will check out the podcasts. Also, let me know if there are questions you want to hear someone in the vocational ministry answer.


Find more in the Tips for a Spiritual Journey on The Unbroken Ground Patheos page.
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I also produce a weekly podcast called The Unbroken Ground. 

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