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Finding and Fulfilling One's Calling by Jack Goodyear and David Cook

Christian Leadership Alliance

By Jack Goodyear and David Cook

In the Christian world, the term “calling” is too often seen as a special vocation for the clergy. As Christian leaders, however, our most important task is to see every part of our life — at work, at home, at church and in the community — as falling under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The great Dutch statesman, Abraham Kuyper, put it well when he said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘mine!’” His words echo the Great Commandment from Matthew 22:37: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Unfortunately, many Christians do not take this mandate seriously. We often dichotomize our lives between what we see as “sacred” and “secular.” While we may worship Jesus on Sunday, we leave our faith at the doorstep as we enter the workplace on Monday.

One of the great challenges for a Christian college like Dallas Baptist University (DBU) is to challenge our students to rid themselves of this dualistic mindset and instead see themselves as vessels whose primary purpose is to follow God’s calling to serve him through all aspects of their lives.

Os Guiness defines calling as “the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.” (The Call, Thomas Nelson, 2003) As he notes, we have a primary calling to be a follower of Christ and a secondary calling to a particular job, profession or industry.

In order to properly train Christian leaders, students must understand God’s calling in their lives. One of the first steps in this process is discovering how God has gifted each individual. At DBU, for example, doctoral students are required to take a battery of self-assessment tests and write reflective papers describing their sense of calling. These exercises, along with mentored interaction, help students develop a leadership profile that enables them to better understand how God has uniquely created them for his service.

In all that we do, our goal is to make our students transformers of culture for Christ — leaders who can help to “move people on to God’s agenda,” as Henry Blackaby puts it. No matter what their vocation, we hope that they will see that God has placed them in positions of influence for his glory, and that he has placed a special calling on their lives to be servant leaders.


Jack Goodyear, Ph.D., serves as the program director for Dallas Baptist University’s Ph.D. in Leadership Studies program.  David Cook, J.D., serves as the program director for Dallas Baptist University’s Master of Arts in Leadership program. This post is an excerpt from their article in the 2015 Spring edition of Outcomes Magazine.


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