Ministry — October 14, 2015 at 2:16 pm

Daniel Kolenda: The Call vs. the Commission

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There is a big difference between the call and the commission. (Lightstock)

Allow me to become extremely practical, if I may. I once preached about answering the call with urgency, and afterward someone came up to me and said, "God called me to the mission field, but you said I should obey now. Does this mean I should quit my job and move to another country right away?"

These particulars are where matters become very personal and highly customized. Ultimately, only you can know what God is saying to you, and only you will be accountable to God. But for most people, I think it's safe to say that when God calls you, He doesn't expect you to go to the airport immediately or sail with the next tide.

This may sound like a contradiction of what I have previously said, but if there is any confusion about this point, it is because of a failure to distinguish between the "call" and the "commission."

When Jesus called His disciples, He didn't call them to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers. He simply called them to follow Him. And as they followed Him, Jesus promised that He would make them into "fishers of men." Now the disciples left their nets immediately to follow Jesus, but they were not made into fishers of men immediately. There was a season of training between when Jesus called them to follow Him and when He commissioned them to preach the gospel.

Obedience to the call of God is about following Jesus. If you have heard the call of Jesus and you think you need to be on the next plane to the mission field, then you probably misunderstood what He said when He called you. He probably didn't say, "Go and do." He most likely said, "Come and follow." Don't worry about the commission. It will come as you follow Jesus.


Daniel Kolenda is a missionary evangelist who has led more than 10 million people to Christ face to face through massive, open-air evangelistic campaigns in some of the most dangerous, difficult and remote locations on earth. He is president and CEO of Christ for All Nations and hosts an internationally syndicated television program.

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