Article By: Garry Yeatts
Ministerial Credentialing Committee
I recently talked with a man who moved to North Carolina from New Jersey. During our conversation he stated that he was learning to “talk Southern.” He asked me, “Can you define what it means when a person says, ‘going over yonder?’” After proceeding to explain to him the concept of distance and destination, the thought occurred to me that in everyday conversation it’s easy to take for granted that people will automatically understand what we’re talking about, especially in the South. I would venture a guess that the same would be true for a transplanted Southerner living in the North. I didn’t bother telling him he could get “over yonder” if “the creek don’t rise” – another favorite Southern expression he’ll no doubt hear from someone.
The word “call” has many different implications. It can refer to answering a telephone call, being called to eat supper, being the person in charge who “calls the shots,” well, you get the idea. You must understand the context in which the word is used.
In this article I’m referencing the word “call” as a specific call from God to enter His service as a preacher. It is one of those life altering, defining moments. Obviously, it’s not a call with an audible voice, but a profound impression God makes on your heart, and you know in your heart it is real. It is always subjective in nature and comes in the context of one’s circumstances. When God calls you into the ministry, He implants something deep within you. It alters your pathway though life. God providentially works in your life through circumstances that grants confidence in knowing His hand and claim are upon your life in a unique way.
Fifty-six years ago, God called me to be a preacher. I can take you to the place and describe the circumstances. It set my course in life and has been a constant reassurance in all the situations of my life. It has preserved me in times of difficulty and been the source of my life’s fulfillment. I’ve never doubted my call to preach, and I’m forever grateful God called me. It has been the north-star that still guides my decisions in life.
When a candidate for ministerial credentials meets with the Ministerial Credentialing Committee in pursuit of the Minister’s License, we want the individual to testify to their call. The circumstances are likely to be different from others, but the one common denominator is the God who calls and the responsibility one bears to answer the call. The call may be affirmed and validated by others in life, but the call is exclusively from God. Is God calling you into ministry? Have you answered the call?