A call to Christian service is deeply personal and cannot be described uniformly. Yet there are some crucial points to understand. First, God speaks. As simple as that may be, very few people actually testify to hearing God speak. If I never hear God speak, the problem is not God’s voice, it is my hearing. Second, God speaks in a variety of ways. This is why a call to Christian service cannot be described uniformly. In my own experience, God spoke through spiritual mentors who helped me identify my spiritual gifts. Many people testify to hearing God speak through other people. Finally, what God says never conflicts with what God has written in His Word. God’s Word commands Christians to be disciple makers (Mt. 28:19). Every believer is called to be a disciple maker. In fact, I believe that disciple-making is a simple description of what Christian service is all about. Wherever we are, whatever we do, God is calling us to make disciples. Though the task is the same for every believer, how to accomplish it varies upon God’s leading.
“I have seen . . . the smoke of a thousand villages – villages whose people are without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world,” said Robert Moffat, and his words burned in the heart of young David Livingstone, who determined to take the gospel to Africa. A call to Christian service comes to those who have spiritual priorities; those who do not care about the lost do not hear a call to reach them. The call may take the form of a message from God, as clear as if He spoke audibly. The call may come as a sense of duty, when a person sees a need that matches his abilities. The call may be simply the perception that the natural response to a crisis is to intervene, as if to rescue someone who is drowning. Acceptance of the call is followed by a burning passion for the work. The call is soon confirmed by godly advisors and divine providence.
I believe that a call to Christian ministry is an inward conviction that one is to give himself in service to God in some area to which He directs. This concords with Scripture, for we often read that God called, directed, or commanded someone to serve Him. Acts 13:2 is a good example: “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”
I further believe that a divine call will usually be confirmed by the church body (Acts 13:1-3) and often be indicated by the directives of one’s authority figures and/or God’s opening and closing doors in one’s life. A call generally will fit one’s abilities and spiritual gifts.
In my life the call to missions has been a progressive, step-by-step leading in which God first turned me toward missions, then toward EFM, Guatemala, and the Bible institute, in that order. Almost every subsequent leading has flowed from, or resonated with, that first nudge toward missions.
While some are directed by God into specific areas of service, all Christians are called by God to be ministers of His reconciliation in the world (II Cor. 5:17-21). Christian service should primarily flow out of our relationship with God (Eph. 2:10). Because God is already at work in the world, my service should be seen as working together with Him (I Peter 4:10, 11). Since the primary purpose of Christian service is to bring glory to God (I Cor. 10:31, Matt. 5:16), any vocation can be a means of Christian service - serving God and our fellow man. Because God is reconciling all things to Himself, every aspect of life is an opportunity for Christian service (Col. 1:20). Ultimately, the call of God is a call to holiness of heart and life. “When Christ bids a man come, He bids him come and die,” Bonhoeffer said. The call is to surrender oneself to God’s complete will and control, wherever that may lead.
Often in the church world we limit our scope of understanding of Christian service to preaching, singing, teaching, or doing mission work. What short-sightedness. We all have a "call" to Christian service. It is a general call. If you are a Christian, you have a call to general Christian service. EVERY Christian has a ministry of some sort. One thing we MUST have is a revival of the importance of vocational skills. Your skills and natural abilities were given to you by God for a reason...as a ministry. Use them for HIS glory.