Book Review | Calling Out the Called

I’ve enjoyed following Shane Pruitt on Twitter. He’s the National Next Gen Director for the North American Mission Board and he has a passion for sharing the gospel that pairs with his heart for serving students. He has written and spoken a lot about culture and a number of things related to ministry that have been quite helpful for many in student ministry. Shane Pruitt and Scott Pace just released Calling Out the Called earlier this week and I was eager to see what they had to say.

This book is a quick read and I found it to be helpful. I think this will be a great resource for me to share with students who are wrestling with a call or looking to start taking steps forward in their calling. I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • How can we talk about calling?
    • extend invitations
    • share testimonies
    • celebrate the church
    • provide opportunities
    • train leaders p. 12
  • Confirm your calling
    • The initial step in wrestling with the call is to confirm your calling.  The confirmation process involves prayerful discernment through a variety of spiritual and practical indicators we must consider.  Charles Spurgeon, a well-known pastor and preacher in the nineteenth century, identified four helpful ways to recognize a call to ministry.
      • overwhelming desire – Do you have an overwhelming desire for the work of ministry?
      • ministry gifts – Do you recognize God’s gifts in your life that he wants to use for your glory?
      • God’s blessing – Do you see God using you to make a spiritual difference in the lives of others?
      • affirmation of others – Do other people observe and confirm your ministry potential? p. 18
  • Count the cost
    • The most obvious cost of vocational ministry is the heat of personal scrutiny.
    • Ministry leaders must also be equipped to carry the weight of spiritual responsibility.
    • The heat and weight are costs we must count, but on the opposite side of the scales, we should consider the gift of sacrificial ministry. p. 21
  • When we discern God’s call to ministry on our lives, there are no other options. Our surrender requires us to “burn the ships” and not look back. We belong to him, and his purpose for our lives must prevail. Embracing our calling ultimately requires us to adopt the mindset the apostle Paul expressed as he tearfully left some of his closest friends in Ephesus to pursue the next steps of his calling. “I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). p. 31
  • Knowing the Word
    • Our reliance on Scripture begins by recognizing it as the primary source for our spiritual delight.
    • God’s word is also the source of our spiritual development.
    • The Bible is the source of our spiritual delight and development and is also the source of our spiritual defense. p. 48
  • Growing in the Word
    • The main reason we must saturate our hearts with God’s Word is because it provides deeper study.
    • Another reason we must saturate our hearts is because those who are called to teach the Bible are held to a higher standard (James 3:1).
    • In addition to a deeper study and higher standard, a saturated heart is also necessary because it provides us a wider scope. p. 52
  • Sowing the Word
    • When we saturate our hearts with Scripture, we will have a word to encourage God’s people.
    • In addition to offering encouragement, when our hearts are saturated with Scripture, we will also have a word to equip God’s people. p. 55
  • “When we depend upon organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we depend on education, we get what education can do; when we depend upon man, we get what man can do; but when we depend on prayer, we get what God can do.” – A.C. Dixon p. 68
  • For evangelism to be a conviction of a ministry, it must be a conviction of its leaders. p. 76
  • “Leaders worth following are ordinary people, courageously living out gospel advancing values.” p. 80
  • A spiritual gift is a tangible expression of God’s grace in the life of every believer that each one of us has a spiritual responsibility to use (1 Peter 4:10, 1 Corinthians 12:7). p. 85
  • Cultivate contentment that pursues godliness, discover satisfaction with the essentials, and find fulfillment in faithful service to Christ rather than worldly comfort (1 Timothy 6:6-8, Philippians 4:11-13). p. 161

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