In this first review, I will be posting about Jason K. Allen’s “Discerning Your Call To Ministry: How To Know For Sure And What To Do About It” released by Moody Publishers.
***Disclaimer: I received this book for free. I am not paid for this review, and will include my honest thoughts whether positive or negative.
Discerning Your Call by Dr. Jason Allen is a timely work providing pointed, tough, and provoking questions for those already in ministry, seminary students looking to serve, and those who may be sensing an initial call.
Discernment of calling begins with understanding. This undergirds the entire book. For ministers to engage and examine their character and “spiritual vitality”, they must first understand the nature of the calling. Allen uses this time to explain the difference between being “called to minister” (which all Christians are charged with doing), “called to ministry” (where he states one does not need to meet the qualifications given in First Timothy 3), and “called to the ministry”, that is, taking the charge to teach and preach God’s Word faithfully (though it seems preaching and teaching are one in the same for Allen). Once the reader understands the differences in “calling”, and possesses a sense of confidence in God’s movement within their lives, Allen then urges the reader to press through the book.
The calling itself requires sacrifices some are not willing to make, and that is okay. He takes the reader through the initial sense of the call by God, through a series of characteristics based First Timothy 3:1-7. Then he proposes ten (10) questions to help the reader navigate uncertain waters of “discerning the call to ministry.” These questions address:
- Do you desire to minister?
- Do you love the people of God?
- Do you desire to see the salvation of people around you?
- Does your current church affirm your calling?
- What fruit are you bearing?
- Are you willing to defend the faith
- Are you willing to surrender?
- Do you match up to God’s character standards?
- Are you gifted to preach and teach God’s Word?
- (If married and with children) Is your house under control? Or, if single, one might say are you under control and “above reproach”?
An appreciation for Allen’s usage of Scripture should also be mentioned. Though short in nature, Allen uses key passages to address key points. One might also appreciate the quantity of references. Ordinarily, Scripture in Christian books might be overused (nothing against this, but can become distracting to the message of the book). However, Allen uses enough to ensure his point is made and that the passages speak directly to what he is striving to communicate.
He concludes the book with advice. Advice to the seminary student sensing the pressing call to ministry to choose the right seminary, invest in people, and gain as much as possible “from the well” as possible. Allen also encourages seminarians to invest in a local church and serve wherever applicable. On the flip side, he also encourages those who no longer since God’s calling to full-time ministry to seek counsel from their pastor, to pray, and always seek the will of God.
Thankfully, this book is not full of theological jargon only those with PhDs would understand. Written to the every day reader, Allen puts forth a clear work to help those pondering God’s call find answers to tough, pointed questions.