Callings & Job Descriptions.

Posted by Emily Cummins

WuFrn91Sometimes we choose to live and breathe this thing we call ministry. Sometimes we don’t. My story lands somewhere in-between.

Born a pastor’s kid, I’ve seen the good and the not-so-good things surrounding ministry. And for a long time, I tried desperately to avoid making ministry my post-college career. But Jesus changed all of that. In fact, He stepped right into the middle of my own dreams, opinions and conclusions surrounding the idea, and said, “You are called to this.”

In college, I discovered a love for strategic communication—why we say what we say—and why it’s critical to the mission and vision of the church. We’re carrying the most important story the world will ever hear—you better believe how we communicate that matters! As I walked across that graduation stage at the University of Florida and was handed my diploma, I had no idea what was ahead of me, but I was confident of one thing: I would take the next best step as God led me.

Now, 14 months since that graduation day, I’m finally beginning to understand what Jesus meant when He whispered “You are called to this.” You see, at the time, I thought it was a job description or a certain role on the team that I would be pursuing. I’d find my best fit, land perfectly, and conquer my weekly to-do list with a smile. But I had it all wrong. I was never called to a job description. I was called to something much, much deeper. I was called to a life…a way of living.

Perhaps one of the toughest things to wrestle through in ministry is that it’s not a clock-in, clock-out situation. It’s not even about a to-do list. It’s about people meeting and discovering the radical grace of God. It’s about redemption and rescue. It’s about hope. Yes, there are things that need to be done. And yes, I have a to-do list that I am held accountable for. But it all boils down to perspective. The second I prioritize my life around a job description, I’ve missed it and robbed myself of the joy that God intends ministry to be.

Ministry is about a calling. It’s about living and breathing and being willing to go through the tough stuff with people. It’s about doing what’s right…every single time. It’s about showing up and being there for people, even if at the end of the day, they’re not there for you. It’s about being the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s tiring and wonderful all at the same time. Some days it’s exhausting. And at times it’s really, really hard. But it’s in these very moments that Jesus has called me to live. I don’t know about you, but I can’t do this on my own. I can’t pour all of me out without Jesus filling me back up. The most reassuring thing I’ve learned about callings versus job descriptions honestly boils down to this: job descriptions are something that I fill; a calling is something that God equips me to do. Like a loving daddy teaching his daughter to dance, God invites us onto the dance floor, puts our feet on top of his, and does the steps with us. He doesn’t invite us into ministry and say, “Have fun! Figure it out!” Ministry was never intended for us to do alone. He is with us. He is for us. And He won’t ever invite us out onto the dance floor to dance on our own. I am so incredibly thankful for that truth.

As a part of the Leading & Loving It community, we all bring different backgrounds, stories and reasons why we’re in ministry. Some of us married into ministry, some of us were born into it, some of us chose to step in and work inside it. Regardless of the “why” behind each of our own journeys into ministry, we’re first and foremost called to it. We didn’t land here because of a ring on our finger or role at a church. We are in ministry because Jesus called us to it. You are called. You are loved. You are spoken for. And what He has called us to, He will equip us to do and to be. I’m banking on that promise today. Together, let’s live with hands open, ready for God to fill and equip us to do what He has called us to do and to be the women He has called us to be.

Have you embraced that ministry is a calling, a way of living, rather than a job to fulfill?

10 thoughts on “Callings & Job Descriptions.

  1. Emily Lee

    My husband is a Children’s Pastor and ministry is demanding. As much as showing the Love of Christ is a lifestyle, his job should not be. His family is his number 1 ministry and if he’s constantly saying yes to the church, then he’s saying no to time with his family. We are learning this balance and it’s hard. People in ministry have their hands full and if they can’t say no, they will get burnt out.

  2. Kathy

    Love everything about this post. And so beautifully written reflecting Gods call on our life. Thanks!

  3. Kathie

    Such a great post! Love the dancing analogy… “God invites us onto the dance floor, puts our feet on top of his, and does the steps with us.” So beautiful. Thank you!

  4. Jill


    What a beautiful and honest perspective. “It’s about showing up and being there for people, even if at the end of the day, they’re not there for you.” My husband and I have been serving in a church with difficult circumstances for the past five years. The Lord is constantly reminding me to “feed My sheep” without expecting anything in return. God has/is doing a mighty work in our hearts (that we obviously needed) because we know dying to self is all about Him. I long for one Jonathan type friend for each of my family that will reach out to us as all of our relationships are pouring into the lives of others. Pray that we will run our race faithfully with these situations the Lord has allowed.

  5. Hunter

    Your words resonate all the way back home Emily. I loved this blog! I can’t wait to read more of them.

  6. Emily Cummins

    Hey Emily Lee! You’re 100% right…showing the love and grace of Jesus is our calling——not the job or job description. And you’re right…your family IS your number one ministry. I’m so thankful that growing up as a pastor’s kid, my parents always modeled that truth! I’m with you…this is a tricky area to balance well. And I’m discovering that when I choose to not balance my “off time” in a healthy way then I get frustrated, bitter and don’t find any joy in what I’m doing. As I’ve been growing in this balance, I’m discovering some tangible action steps (like turning off my email when I get home & leaving work-related text messages to answer the next day), and listening for Jesus’ voice in the grey areas (like taking a meal or ice cream to a sick staff member or to reward an awesome volunteer). What I believe is this: If I’m not healthy, I can’t lead or serve in a healthy way. So first, I’m pouring into my family and myself, and from there living out this calling God has given me. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  7. Terri

    Loved this – forwarded it onto to my own two PKs! Such a good perspective and right on! Thank you for the reminder 🙂

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