Become the Leader You Were Called to Be

by | Nov 1, 2018 | Leadership | 1 comment

Calling. It’s a word that is ubiquitous in the Church.

I will never forget enduring three years of that word in seminary. The seminary I attended had a ‘high view’ of calling. That meant, basically, speaking the word slower, softer, and with a pained expression.

That’s how you drive a point home, right?

I remember, once, giving an in-class presentation on the very topic. It was, perhaps, a little contentious; but, my colleagues and professor humoured me. In that presentation, I suggested that we throw the word ‘calling’ around in an ill-defined and loose manner. Somehow, though, we believed that by repeating the word more often, more slowly, and with an increasingly pained expression, the message would be driven home.

I have to admit, I never really learned what they meant by calling.

I can’t say that I was ever asked what my calling was, either.

But I knew that I had one. I still know that I have one.

And I bet you do, too.


What’s your calling?

The Oxford Dictionary defines calling as “a strong urge toward a particular way of life or career; a vocation.”

Now, that sounds great. But, I think we need to push beyond calling being a ‘strong urge’. A strong urge indicates something that comes from within. A calling comes from without. Calling indicates that someone, not named me, spoke. It also means that someone, named me, listened.

I have one other hunch. It’s a simple one, too. That you are reading this right now because you are convinced of your calling and you want to thrive.


Called to Lead

So when did you receive the call? When did you begin to act on it?

I received the call in the spring of 2012. I was sitting at my desk, writing a Master’s Thesis, when I stopped and had to write a message. It was a short message, but I needed to write it down. It read like this:

Your job is to research the Church.

Seven words. That was it.

I went back to writing the results of social psychological research and, eventually, recycled that little scrap of paper. But in the summer of 2012, I made a change. I opted out of a PhD studying leadership and group dynamics and began theological studies.

It was time to study the Church.

Enter seminary. Enter Church statistics and metrics. Enter the beginning of my consulting journey. And this is just the beginning. The best is yet to come!

So what’s your call story?

The fact that I have a call story isn’t unique. The story itself is, but not that I have one.

And so is yours.

And, if I may be so bold, I believe that you were called to leadership. So will you do everything within your power to become the leader you were called to be?


Become the Leader You Were Called to Be

If I can be perfectly honest with you, I want nothing more than for you, as a pastor, to become a great leader. After all, you have been called to lead. And so much is riding on the execution of that calling.

But leadership is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. There’s always something to learn. There’s always something to grow in.

And that’s the point of all of this. That’s the point of my consulting. It’s the point of the research that I conduct. That’s the reason I do what I do. I want to help pastors, like you, thrive in their calling to lead so that they may inspire and equip their church to come alive.

It’s the reason I answered the call.

And, let’s face it, you probably feel the same way. You answered the call and you want to help your church thrive.

If you’re wondering where to start, take this quick assessment (it’s free). The assessment is designed to help you see your leadership in a new way; or, perhaps, to recapture that leadership spark.

Together, let’s become the leaders God desires. Let us lead like we have been called. Because we have.

Anthony VanderLaan Church Consultant Cropped


I am a blogger, researcher, and church consultant, here to inspire and empower you to become a better leader and pastor; a leader and pastor that inspires and equips your church to come alive.

I write and speak about how churches can stop wasting time with sideways energy to get back on mission.

And I will inspire you to remember your calling and be proud of it.

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