In the spring of 1999, I was pursuing what I thought was merely an interest. I was taking classes through Nazarene Bible College (NBC) at the extension campus known as the Virginia District School of Ministry. They recruited me at a district layman’s retreat. Learning all the things pastors know had always intrigued me. My wife would often ask when we were going to pack up and move to Colorado so I could attend NBC full time. My standard response was that I was not fighting it but simply did not feel called. God smiled.
During May of that same year, my wife and I attended her brother’s graduation at NBC. Once we set foot on campus, God began speaking to me. My wife and I cried for three days, and it had nothing to do with the graduation events. I could remember having once read an account of Uncle Buddy Robinson, Nazarene evangelist, wrestling with his own call and asking, “is this something I worked up myself?” That was exactly how I felt and needed to discern if it was my emotional reaction to that graduation weekend or if it was God calling.
A former pastor told me I needed to do three things: do anything else but vocational ministry if God would let me, seek confirmation, and go to the mountain and pray. The first two were easy. God would not leave me alone, and confirmations of this call from others came more rapidly than I could process. That third piece of advice is what really sealed the deal. Taking a literal approach, I went to a mountain where I deer hunted to pray. Sitting in a tree stand, Bible in hand, I began praying and asking God questions.
“God, do you want me to leave my career and move to Colorado? God, are you calling me to vocational ministry? God, is this something I worked up myself?” God did not answer those questions directly, but He did respond. He said to me, “I did not bring you to this mountain so I could answer your questions. I brought you to this mountain so you could answer my question. The question itself does not matter. Regardless of what I ask you to do, will your answer be yes?” God was asking me to surrender everything, and with tears in my eyes, I said yes!
He sanctified me wholly on that day as I surrendered all.
Within 60 days, I quit my job, sold my home, moved to Colorado Springs, and enrolled full time at NBC. God provided a new home and a wonderful job to see my family successfully through our NBC days. Ministry has taken me through three academic programs, professional certifications, and multiple assignments in the Church of the Nazarene. My testimony is that you can trust God with your everything! Do not hesitate to offer up the ultimate “yes” when He calls.
Perhaps God is calling you. We know He calls everyone to be saved and sanctified. So start there. If you sense He may be calling you to vocational ministry:
- Do anything else if God will let you
- Seek confirmation
- Go to the mountain and pray
Kevin Compton is the district administrator for the Colorado District of the Church of the Nazarene.