“Rabble, rabble, rabble!” The mob shouts and rabbles about…? What? No one really knows; it’s a bit muddy right?
When I trained for civil disorder situations in my time working for the Australian Federal Police, our instructors would act as violent protestors screaming unintelligible mixed messages like, “Land rights for gay whales!!” They were mockingly mixing their messages to typify a type of chaos that comes when there is no clear level of importance to any or all issues and values.
Today it seems like many voices in the cultural, church, political, and media spheres are living in a continual state of outrage and messaging that is abundantly clear about what it is against but less clear on what it is truly for.
For pastors and ministry leaders, sorting through the mix of issues that seem incredibly worthy of our time, energy, and most importantly voices, we run the risk of muddying our messages, values, and purpose.
Here are three simple principles to boil down your clarion call, or in simpler terms your driving purpose, in life and ministry to help silence the chaos and bring clarity.
Chances are your ministry life looks like you doing a lot of different things, but until you know what your core calling is and make it a priority, you’ll continue to feel run down, worn out, and spread in a million different directions. When you boil down your deepest passion and core calling for ministry, what is left? Is it to preach, to care for others, to train pastors, instruct children, help women or men understand the Bible better, something else?
Try asking yourself this question: “When I consider what I am giving my life to, which area is the most important for me to succeed in?”
Now this might sound like I am talking out of both sides of my mouth, but as you figure out what is most important and you give it priority in your ministry, you must still ask the question, “Is this detracting from other things I hold as valuable?”
We are not binary creatures, and especially in ministry we will always have multiple responsibilities we are obligated to. When we discover our clarion call and give ourselves to it, other aspects of ministry life play not just secondary roles, but supportive ones.
For example, how can the person called to preach the Gospel as primary do that well unless he is also a deeply connected shepherd in the lives of his flock? If he does not have a holistic view and value his role as pastor, he will never be able to fulfil the primary call on his ministry life.
Is everything in your vocation and your life working together for harmony as you pursue wholeheartedly that which is most important?
I don’t have a great ear for music, but I do know if things don’t sound right and are out of harmony. It stands out if someone is off timing or out of tune. So, it is in my life. As I fight for clarity in calling, I know if something on my calendar is detracting from it. If something is out of harmony either do what it takes to bring it into harmony or cut it out of your time.
Consider the example of Jesus who, when the crowds and rabble threatened his true purpose, withdrew (Jn 6:15) so his focus could remain on his clarion call to redeem the whole world.
As you consider these three simple principles, may you become more effective at serving and engaging your gifts in the calling the Lord has placed in your life as you grow in understanding of your clarion call. And as you go, may you learn to tune out the rabble and give yourself to that call with fervor and passion.