As I complete a season of my life and feel a sense of transition, I am asking myself some very important questions about my vocation as a worship leader, administrator and teacher; "what is my calling?", "What is the anointing for this calling?", and "Where is God's appointment to fulfill this calling?". As I wrestle with these questions, I could not help but think of their universality in every ministry situation and the necessity to review them from time to time.
Calling is different than opportunity. Sometimes Christians have a circumstantial faith and make decisions on "open door" opportunities or leveraging different relationships. But we are called to live by faith and not be sight (or circumstances) (2 Cor. 5:7), to strive for our high calling in Christ (Heb 3:1), and to complete the work that God has prepared for us before the foundations of the world (Eph 2:10). We are to be people of destiny, who don't live according to who we used to be, but according to who we are to become (ref Eph 4:1).
Anointed is not being skilled at a task, although skill is a byproduct of anointing. I've heard people rave about certain minister's "anointing" because they are so "inspirational". May I suggest that inspiration is not anointing. There are a lot of "inspirational' speakers in the world that are not inspired or anointed by God and creator of the universe; to Him be all praise and honor and glory - Amen. Being anointed involves God's ordaining power to fulfill your calling - your divine purpose. This might mean that an anointed person may not be "inspirational".
I worked with a very creative drummer whose tempo was rock solid. He said he did not feel inspirational as a member of the worship band, but when I ask if he recognized the anointing on his playing, he say he definitely did. This drummer knew the difference between anointing and emotional response. Micaiah, the Old Testament prophet, was the same way. Even though Jehoshaphat did not like what Micaiah said (1 Kings 22:18) there was no denying that God anointed Micaiah in his calling even though Micaiah's message certainly would not be considered inspirational. We need to learn that anointing is God's sovereign confirmation within a Christian leader that is independent of what people say about your ministry; in fact, it the very confidence that carries the Christian leader in times public critique.
Appointment is where your calling and anointing is expressed. There are many in the body of Christ who realize their calling and anointing but are missing their appointment. These are the people that come into your church with a clear call on their lives but want to change everything about it; they try to ministry but are never satisfied with results. Early in my worship leading ministry (about 1982), I was asked by a conservative church to help them transition from Hymns only to a blended worship service. I come from a Charismatic tradition. No matter how many compliments I got, I never felt like I was very successful. There are several reasons for this. First I did not understand their expression culture was different, so I did not recognize their deeply spiritual expressions. Secondly, I had a preconceived idea of what "real worship" looked like. It focused on peoples' activity and not their heart. But most important was this was not my appointment. Although I was capable of the job, there was no conviction that this is the place for me although I felt very loved by the people there.
Have you ever felt that way, like your calling and your anointing are not accomplishing their intended ministry? Have you felt unsure about your calling, especially if when the tide of popular opinion changes? Or perhaps you are in a position where you feel like a hireling... simply carrying out the tasks you are asked to do. Can I encourage you to ask these questions: What is my calling and is this currently my primary focus? Has God anointed me at this time to serve Him in my calling? What group of people has God prepared to benefit the most from my expressed calling and anointing? It takes a brave leader to ask these questions. "But be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, [our] God, is with you"
May your calling be sure, you anointing be strong and your appointment be apt - Amen.