Calling | TheResurgence

June 23, 2009 — 4 Comments

I thought about posting an excerpt the following post, but it’s short and you should just read the whole thing.

The Confusing Language of “Calling,” Part 1 | TheResurgence

This goes in line with what I wrote in an earlier post commenting on Passivity in the Church. The root of passivity in the Christian walk I think is the lack of identity as God’s called and sent people. As a college minister, I frequently hear questions about calling to a job/life decision–“should I be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer? What am I called to do?”–which are all significant questions.

I have found, however, that students predominantly have exchanged the idea of basic obedience to our effectual calling and new identity as Christians with their specific vocation to a job.  The result has been that, more often than not, a job is THE determining factor in how an individuals life is oriented.

This isn’t a student’s fault, however, but in many ways the result of cultural syncretism with the American dream.  We (myself included) often cannot see outside of our own culture to understand that our personal vocation is fundamentally subservient to the call to global discipleship (Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 24:14), and therefore don’t orient our lives toward God’s purposes.

What if this generation of students asked the question “how can I obey God with my gifts and skills to reach panta ta ethne, or all the people groups?” rather than injecting God into their life trajectory?  The call to discipleship is most often a radical departure from the plan we have for ourselves, and requires asking a fundamentally different set of questions.

I pray this generation would be the one who understand their identity, asks questions based on that identity, and obeys God radically to the ends of the earth!

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

4 responses to Calling | TheResurgence

  1. amen brother.

    i would also submit that much of the confusion over personal identity is born from a lack of understanding the identity of Christ.

  2. I think you’ve really explained the issue well, Todd! My one addition is that we need to not only work at directing college students to realign with God’s calling in their life, but also have churches direct parents to stop discipling their children to become “American Dream Chasers” and start discipling them to become “Jesus Christ Followers”.

  3. Todd Engstrom June 23, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    For sure! The Great Commission is for all, and should be the guiding principle of our parenting…I pray that Micah and Hudson would gain Christ first, and that second from me.

  4. Todd Engstrom June 23, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Agreed. The identity as called and sent is intimately interwoven into our identity in Christ, more specifically an aspect of that identity…

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