Calling to Christ

This Calling class is one of four Spiritual Formation groups designed to shape us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. It assumes that we have a reasonable grip on our identity in Christ. Also, it assumes that we have not entered fully into the last two seasons of spiritual formation— intentionality and legacy.

Each class begins with prayer, sharing homework, and discussing the assigned readings. Meetings include instructional time, which assumes healthy dialogue from the Scriptures. Our purpose is to address common pitfalls known to threaten our joy in this season of spiritual formation with truth and grace, while delighting in the eternal pleasures that await those who “run in such a way as to win the prize” (1 Cor. 9:24).

In order to deepen our understanding of our callings, the final assignment will apply what is learned in this class. You will be asked to write a statement of your sense of calling that confronts romanticism, “shoulds,” and resignation. You will make use of significant life events and consider how your calling can be lived out to reflect the gospel.

In all this, we are seeking God’s grace—the power of his Spirit, the agency of his Word, the mystery of his providence, and the caring concern of his people—to shape us each permanently, uniquely, and heartily to answer the call to Christ.


1. Leaders to shape—Our generation needs spiritual formation leaders like you, who are willing to shape others from conformity to voices other than Christ’s into free transformational agents of grace. However, it begins with you.

2. Hearts to fill—Your heart matters. A heart filled with faith, hope, and love will make all the difference. Faith asks, “What am I trusting God for in each person’s calling?” Hope ponders, “What’s my vision for this person in five and ten years from now?” Finally, love desires to see each person “blossom in the Lord’s vineyard” where he has chosen to plant them.

3. Environments to transform—As you share your own brokenness, you will give others permission to do the same. Thus, we as a group will create an environment of grace, a safe place for people to come to terms with the broken people we truly are, and respond to Christ’s calling of glory for the people we hope to become. Please honor others with confidentiality.


“Calling is 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, dynamism, and direction lived out as a response to his summons and service.” —Os Guinness

“To respond to our individual calling is to live out the themes of our stories—themes that fill us with sorrow, anger, pleasure, and joy—for God’s glory.” —Dan Allender

Although the word kaleo used for “calling” means God’s general summons to us, it may be applied in all areas of life. God summons us to repent and believe in Christ (1 Cor. 1:9, Rom. 8:30), to fulfill the Great Commission (1 Peter 2:9–10), and to join in a local church of “called out ones” (ekklesia). God calls each Christian to a general calling and to particular callings, which includes all of life—our gifts, story, family status, employment, and regular responsibilities in God’s world.


  • Your calling will subvert the idol of choice in our culture.
  • Your calling will provide a gospel storyline and unity rather than a fragmented, disconnected narrative about random relationships, events, and places.
  • Your growing sense of calling to Christ will make you single-minded, and increase your effectiveness in more areas. “This one thing I do,” said the Apostle Paul, but he did it in a thousand ways.


  • All of me to Christ’s purposes in every area of my life for his glory and my joy.
  • “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!’” —Dutch Prime Minister Abraham Kuyper
  • “We need to realize that our calling in terms of work is only one of our vocations. We are also called to be saints, parents, children, siblings, citizens, and a host of other things. These are truly vocations or callings.” —Michael Horton


  • Key question of calling: What is my heart’s response to Christ’s calling on my life? This is the underlying question in a Christian’s life. The earlier we can answer it, the better.
  • God ordained us to be participants who are used by him to name and call others up, out, and into the world.
  • Calling is a beautiful aspect of the gospel, which is never at stake. We may rest. It is always there even after periods of dormancy or dullness of hearing.
  • Each of us was meant to display God’s glory in creating and redeeming us from all our tragedies by his sovereign reversals.

Calling to Christ

Session 1: Definition of Calling to Christ
Pastor Bob Smart

Session 2: Scriptural Support
Pastor Bob Smart

Session 3: Hindrances to Joy in Your Calling
Pastor Bob Smart

Session 4: Hearing God’s Calling for You
Pastor Bob Smart

Session 5: Living Out Your Calling to Christ
Pastor Bob Smart

Session 6: Sharing Your Calling to Christ
Pastor Bob Smart