meredith stone

Book Review: Hearing God's Call

Ben Campbell Johnson's book, Hearing God's Call (Eerdmans, 2002), is a must-read resource for anyone sensing a call from God.

In Johnson's words, has God been messing with your life? "God has always called human beings to share in the divine mission in the world - and he still does" (ix). God's "messing" in our lives, or God's call, can lead us toward many different ways of participating in God's work in the world. Our call to participate in God's purposes can be a calling to a particular job that serves the greater good (lawyer, teacher, doctor, construction worker, etc.), it can be a calling on us to adopt certain volunteer... [continue]

A particular calling

Everyone who feels called to ministry inevitably asks the question - what does being "called" mean? After all, we understand that every Christian is called to live their lives in the service of and as a witness to Christ. So how is a call to ministry different?

Listening to the Puritans can help us understand the distinction of a call to ministry. The Puritans separate calling into two categories. The first is "general calling" which is the call on all Christians to live as followers of Christ. The substance of the general calling is essentially the same for all believers. The second is "particular calling" in which God calls people... [continue]

Discerning a Call Means Continuous Listening

Ministry can be a very broad calling. It can encompass church ministry, mission work, chaplaincy, institutional ministry, non-profit ministries and much more. Often we struggle in trying to discern more specificity in our callings than simply "ministry." We want to know exactly what it is we are called to so we can have certainty about where our lives are going. We want calling to be clean and simple so that we can discern all of the details and move out of the calling phase into the living-it-out phase.

But calling grows with us. If we are faithful to God's calling, we will continually be in the process of discernment. The calling... [continue]

Understanding the Bible for Women Who Feel Called to Ministry

Discussions of how women should be involved in ministry and the church in particular have been happening for many years. Many young women who feel called to ministry have grown up in churches that take one position or the other on the concern of women in ministry. These young women, then, may not be aware that different positions from the ones they have been taught exist in Baptist life.

One position on women in ministry in Baptist churches is that women are restricted from certain leadership roles in the church. Some say only the office of pastor is limited to men while others argue that women should not lead or teach men in any... [continue]

The Eve Contention

Jim Henderson's recent book, The Resignation of Eve: What if Adam’s Rib is No Longer Willing to Be the Church’s Backbone? (Tyndale House Publishers, 2012), brings to light some startling statistics concerning decreases in women’s church involvement. According to research conducted by the Barna group, over the 20 years between 1991 and 2011:

  1. There has been a 20% decrease in the number of adult women attending church services
  2. 29% less adult women attend Sunday school
  3. The number of women who volunteer at churches has dropped 31%
  4. The proportion of un-churched American women has risen 94%

Though Henderson’s book offers some... [continue]