Did God Call Me or Did I Get it Wrong?

As we were driving home the other day, Melissa made a passing comment that caused me to reflect on my time as a pastor. She said, “God called you to be a pastor.”

Before I thought twice, I blurted out a response: “But did He really?”

Melissa leaned back, as if God was about to strike our car with lightening and send me down to a fiery pit of eternal damnation. I smiled.

“Maybe God make a mistake,” I said, “or maybe I was just listening to all the wrong voices.”

My Journey With Jesus

Growing up, I was a typical church kid. I said all the right things. I listened to all the sermons. I went to all the classes and volunteered wherever I was needed most. I joined the worship team at the age of twelve and was highly active in our small, but dedicated, youth group.

But on the inside, regardless of my involvement, nothing much was happening – nothing was really connecting deep within me … so, I faked it. For quite some time, actually. And I was pretty good at faking it too. Or so I thought.

I wanted people to think that I was a good kid who had a good relationship with Jesus. But that wasn’t the case at all. I was a self-centered young man who cared more about what people thought of me than what God thought of me. I cared more about disappointing others than I cared about disappointing God.

But eventually – and thankfully – there came a time when the inner me and the external me collided. I was faced with a question inspired by the conviction of the Holy Spirit that went something like this: “Who are you living for?”

At the age of seventeen, sitting on the edge of my bed, I made the decision to follow Jesus and devote the entirety of my life to him. I made the decision to drop the hoax and start my own journey toward Jesus. From that moment on, I was like the Cookie Monster, trying to devour as much as I could as fast as I could.

And, for the first time in my life, I cared about Jesus.

POSTED ON December 9, 2013
  • Maybe you can be a pastor in more than one way?

    Maybe you are being a pastor in what your are doing right now?

    • Yeah, I would agree with Bob here. There is obviously the office of pastor, but does this mean you stop having the gifts you had before?

      Is it possible you can still be a ‘pastor’ in the sense of how God uses you even though you don’t hold the office anymore? And not that any of this diminishes the pain leaving thay office entailed. Just a thought.

  • JourneyMan

    I recently asked those questions. I responded to an “urging” or “calling” when I was 18. First of my family to go off to college, be it a Christian one. I began preaching within a few months. It was both satisfying and frustrating at the same time. Attended and graduated from seminary having served in various positions in various churches. At least when I graduated, I had experience. Some people graduated with no ministry experience and were called to “good” churches. I didn’t match very well, so I stayed and worked in churches locally. I “fit” in denominational entities for several years. Then when “budget cuts” came along, I was cut along with several others. Let’s say it was not done well and I began doubting my friends, my mentors, even God. I became friends with a guy on staff at a church…no theological training, but he is leading and serving, and when I told him of my struggle, he said, “this is just a job!” Did I miss understand God? I can’t seem to find another job/career. I got one part time job but even from the interview, I was told, “this seminary background makes me feel uncomfortable”. Or I have been asked, “why aren’t you in ministry anymore?” Sometimes I think I have wasted my life as well as misrepresented God. I keep trying to shake “the call” but it follows me all the time. Any advice?

    • I’ve been asked plenty of times, after telling someone I “used” to be a pastor (whence the reason we title this site “expastors”), “Why aren’t you in ministry anymore?” or “So you’re no longer a pastor?” It’s quite uncomfortable and most people don’t know how to treat you. It took some time to get over, actually.

      To answer your question, I actually just posted an article yesterday about jobs for expastors. I’d encourage you to read it: http://www.expastors.com/how-do-i-feed-my-family-now-that-im-not-a-pastor-a-guide-to-jobs-for-expastors/

      Check it out and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to talk to you further about your “calling” and what you believe that meant for your life. Blessings.

  • Sparkling_jewel

    There are some people who are called but never had the opportunity or encouragement from their family. If you hear His voice today, do not harden your heart. “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” ( Matthew 9:37 ).

    • Thanks for your comment. And, I agree, the harvest is plentiful!

Bo Lane is the founder of ExPastors, a community that strives to offer help, healing, and hope for expastors, pastors, and church leaders, and author of Why Pastors Quit. As a media professional with more than 15 years of experience, he has developed marketing and brand strategies that have revolutionized churches and businesses, both large and small. Bo left full-time ministry after serving more than a decade in churches in Oregon, California, and Iowa. He is also a writer, filmmaker, woodworker, husband and father.