Why the Title More?
Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.”
The path most Christians are on is not giving them the “more” Jesus intends.
The Greek for “have it more abundantly” is actually more extreme than our modern day translations reflect. Perisson echosin (περισσὸν ἔχωσιν) means to take hold of exceedingly, abundantly more. It quite literally means “more than full” or “exceeding expectations.”
How many people do you know that are living lives that exceed their expectations? How many do you know who are pursuing “more” in all the wrong ways and measures? The “more” Jesus promises is not the “more” most Christians seek, and the consequences give us the cultural Christianity we see all around us.
What is Personal Calling?
Personal calling is God’s unique handiwork in our lives to equip us to play our unique part in His mission for the church.
To more fully answer this question and prepare to write More, I spent the first few years researching, reading and interviewing people about personal calling. This included:
- Studying what the New Testament says about calling;
- Reading over 20 books on personal calling;
- Reviewing what church historians say about calling;
- Receiving input and counsel from numerous church leaders;
- Interviewing over 75 lay leaders who are on the journey of engaging their unique calling.
Calling has two components: a primary or general calling and a secondary or unique calling. The Bible refers most often to our primary or general calling which we share with all Christians, everywhere, all the time. Our primary or general calling is to be a disciple of Jesus, who carries his fullness to others as we make disciples, wherever we are. To be a disciple, who makes disciples, wherever we are!
Our primary or general calling gives context, relevance and meaning to our secondary or unique personal calling. Without our primary or general calling, our secondary or unique personal calling would lack purpose and simply be about good works and deeds.
Our secondary or unique personal calling is captured in Ephesians 2:10. We are uniquely made, to do specific good works and deeds, wherever we can be most effective. To discover our unique personal calling is to discover the sweet spot of our design of gifts, our mission of good works and deeds, and our position of fit. This unique calling gives us a unique role in carrying the fullness of Jesus to every crack and corner of society where we accomplish our primary calling to be disciples who make disciples wherever we find ourselves. This beautiful synergy is part of the Master’s plan.
More covers both the primary (or general) and the secondary (or unique) elements of personal calling.
Why the Topic Personal Calling?
Personal calling is a vital element in the “more” Jesus intends and the mission of the church. More is a book about personal calling. It’s a call for all Christ followers to embrace, discover and deploy the general and unique callings God has placed on their lives. Unlocking and taking hold of the abundance Jesus promises in John 10:10 requires that we think differently about personal calling.
Most Christians miss the truth that calling is for them, mistaken by the belief that calling is limited to paid vocational ministers. As a result, most are not living within the uniqueness of their calling. They live continually with a tension, sensing that God has something more for them than what their journey currently offers.
The mission of the church is to carry the fullness of Jesus into every crack and crevice of society (Ephesians 1:22-23). The book of Ephesians tells us that it’s the entire body, each person deployed with their unique gifts, that is Jesus’ special equipping of his people for their mission to be accomplished. The church simply can’t be successful if only a select few vocational ministers are called.
This book, More, is intended to help people turn their discontent and questions regarding purpose and significance into meaningful action through a practical framework of calling taken from the book of Ephesians. More provides a simple vocabulary and a memorable framework that are easy for any person to use in embarking on a journey of discovering their unique personal calling and making progress in answering the nagging questions of purpose that we all face.
Why Did I Write More?
In obedience to God. I don’t have a charismatic bone in my body, but when God said, “write,” I paid attention.
I’ve spent the past five years researching and writing this book. Its been a labor of love, and I’m more passionate than ever about the content.
Seven years ago, Pete Richardson, a master life planner, facilitated my life plan. The process profoundly impacted me and helped me see the amazing latent capacity of calling. Like a treasure hidden in a mattress and never discovered, most people never discover their personal calling. It lies dormant never being activated from latent potential to active impact.
Do we believe the unique personal calling of each Christ follower is Jesus’ special equipping for the church? If so, why would we not enthusiastically help people activate the latent capacity of their calling?
As Pete was leading me through life planning, my mentor and friend Bob Buford challenged me with the question, “What would it look like to function 100% in your sweet spot of calling?” The question bothered me. I couldn’t answer it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. That question, coupled with Pete’s work in life planning, was a milestone leading up to God’s simple direction to “Write!”
What Core Principles Does More Build On?
The following principles and truths are covered in the first section (Chapters 1-8) of More. To discover our calling, we must:
- trust deeply the author of our story.
- step forward in faith, even when we cannot see clearly.
- abandon the earthbound kingdom of me in order to gladly serve in the eternal kingdom of God.
- submit to the lordship of Jesus.
- embrace our mission to carry the fullness of Jesus to every corner of society.
- live in common with a healthy, local community of faith.
- take personal responsibility of the unique role Jesus gives us.
- trust the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.
What Framework is Used in More?
There are literally 1,000s of sweet spots found in nature. From baseball bats to the acoustics in rooms to gun scopes, sweet spots are a truth of God’s creation. Here’s the amazing thing: every sweet spot shares three common characteristics regardless of its type: (1) a unique purpose, (2) a unique design, and (3) a unique position. Find the sweet spot and you will experience increased impact or results.
We are the work of God’s hand. We are uniquely made. Could we also have a sweet spot? What would it look like to apply the common characteristics of all sweet spots to people?
We could translate them into these questions:
- Who am I created to BE? (a design question)
- What am I made to DO? (a purpose question)
- Where is my best fit (GO)? (a position question)
It’s not a coincidence that these three elements represent the most common questions asked by men and women. To answer these questions is to find our unique sweet spot of calling. More refers to these elements as the “BE-DO-GO” framework.
Look again at Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We see the BE-DO-GO design, purpose and position elements reflected: God’s handiwork (unique design), specific good works he plans for us (unique purpose), and the expectation that we are to engage and do them (unique position).
In More, this BE-DO-GO framework is applied to both our primary or general calling and our secondary or unique personal calling. This framework is covered in the second section (Chapters 9-16) of More.
What Chapters are included in More?
SECTION 1: Foundations in Calling
Chapter 1 – Trusting the Author of Our Story
Chapter 2 – Stepping Forward in Faith
Chapter 3 – Two Scripts, Two Kingdoms
Chapter 4 – Surrendering the Leading Role
Chapter 5 – Redefining Success
Chapter 6 – Owning My Part
Chapter 7 – Trusting the Guide
Chapter 8 – Discovering My Unique Role
SECTION 2: Discovering Your Calling
Chapter 9 – Being a Disciple: My Core Identity
Chapter 10 – Making Disciples: My Core Mission
Chapter 11 – Where I am: My Core Position
Chapter 12 – Crafted by God: My Unique Identity
Chapter 13 – Good Works and Deeds: My Unique Mission
Chapter 14 – Where I’m Most Effective: My Unique Position
Chapter 15 – The Importance of Mentors
Chapter 16 – Living the Part
What is Distinctive about More? More is:
- Built on core, Biblical truths including the essential understanding that our calling is God’s equipping for playing a role in the church’s mission to carry the fullness of Jesus into every crack and crevice of society;
- Built around a simple and memorable BE-DO-GO framework for discovering personal calling;
- Built on a foundation of discipleship and stewardship. Primary or general calling is defined in terms of discipleship (being disciples who make disciples where we are). At its core, More is a book on discipleship. Secondary or unique personal calling is God’s special equipping that is to be stewarded as we engage in playing our role in accomplishing the church’s purpose. At its core, More is also a book about stewarding the unique gifts God has equipped us with.