Driven vs. Called (Chicago)

2017 RightNow Conference Chicago

What do you do when your calling begins to feel too heavy to carry? The answer to that question will tell you something of what you believe about God. In this 34-minute session from the 2017 RightNow Conference in Chicago, Jennie Allen issues a challenge about our views of ministry by demonstrating the ways in which we trade God's priority in our lives for His mission.

Jennie Allen is an author, speaker, Bible teacher, and Founder of the IF:Gathering, a uniquely practical Christian conference which gathers, equips, and unleashes women to live out their purpose. She is the author of several books and Bible studies, including Stuck: The Places We Get Stuck and the God Who Sets Us Free, Chase: Chasing After the Heart of God, Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked my God and My Soul, and Restless: Because You Were Made for More

How do you persevere when ministry gets hard? You'll either force yourself to keep going and burn out or rely on the Holy Spirit. There's a big difference between living "driven" and living "called." Living out God's call does not mean we will never grow tired, but when it becomes burdensome there is something wrong with what we believe about God.

Jeremiah 2:11-13 (ESV)

11 Has a nation changed its gods,

even though they are no gods?

But my people have changed their glory

for that which does not profit.

12Be appalled, O heavens, at this;

be shocked, be utterly desolate,

declares the Lord,

13for my people have committed two evils:

they have forsaken me,

the fountain of living waters,

and hewed out cisterns for themselves,

broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Have you experienced a season of burnout? How did it affect you? How did it influence your ministry?
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How have you seen the temptation to replace God with His mission play out in your own life? What desires are at the root of that temptation? What about your work tempts you to believe it will give you something you cannot find from God?
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Is it possible that we are doing ministry wrong? Could it be that our emptiness comes from the fact that we are running to the wrong cisterns? Jennie asked these provocative questions to remind us of the truth—Jesus is the only cistern that satisfies. We should chase after Him instead of chasing after ministry.

Would you say you're pursuing God or your ministry? Is it easy to confuse the two? Why do you think that is?
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Our call as Christians is to make disciples. And for those in vocational ministry, our job is to equip the saints to obey God. By these standards, how are you doing at your God-given calling? Why do you say that?
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Where do you stand in the tension of desiring God and influence? At this point in your life, would you say your priorities are in the proper order? Why or why not?
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Like Jennie said, we need to believe in the supernatural power of God. He is the one who equips us for His work. Our job is to believe and abide in Him.

How are you abiding in Christ daily? What are some practices you have in place for staying focused on God? Where do you see room for improvement in this area?
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Jennie questioned why we use the world's standards to measure success in ministry. How do you measure success? How has your approach influenced your view of ministry?
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As Jennie asked near the end of her talk, would you say you're full or empty? What do you believe is true about God?
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Galatians 3:2-3 (ESV)

2Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Jennie said we work by and through the Spirit of God in us. We should operate out of His power and if anything stands in the way of us and God, we need to run to Jesus. What idols do you need to surrender to God? How could you call on the Spirit for strength this week?
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How will you practically take steps to resting with God this week? What will you do to create margins in your life to cultivate a greater dependence on Him?
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The idol of our day is to make a name for ourselves. Do you desire God more than personal influence, applause, and the things of this world? It's a difficult question to ask, but one that is crucial not only to effectiveness in ministry, but to intimacy with God. Ministry is a heavy task and one made all the more so when we trust in our performance before the power of God in us. Ask Him to search your heart and bring to light any idolatry luring you away from the living water of Jesus. He is faithful to cleanse you and restore you to that abundance that will pour out of you into the lives of those He has placed in your midst.

For more information on the RightNow Conference or to find out how to attend next year's event, visit