When God Calls (with Judith Anniss)

Judith Anniss is a part of the team that leads King's Church in Manchester, which is part of the Pioneer movement of churches. Judith heads up the Longsight site of King's Church. In this Broadcast, Judith talks about how God calls us to ministry, sharing Biblical principles, personal testimony and practical applications for us all.


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Calling Affects Us All

  • When God saves us, he does so for a purpose and for a particular calling.
  • Often we can be very inspired when we hear some people's callings (and very grateful that we haven't been given the calling of some others).
  • When Jesus fed the five thousand, some people then started following him. When they spoke to him, one of the questions was 'what must we do to be doing the work of God?' - Jesus answered that it is to believe in the one that God has sent.
  • Doing God's work involves believing in the one who God has sent.
  • Jesus is capable of revealing himself in many ways, but he tends to reveal himself through sending us. 
  • We are sent in the same way the Father sent Jesus. 

Recognising the Calling of Others

  • In Mark 6, we find the people in Jesus' home town could not recognise his calling. 
  • To recognise someone's calling may involve looking past their humanity - character traits, where they are from, etc.
  • Sometimes we need to squint in order to see what God is doing in a person.

Our Own Calling

  • When we know we are called it gives us the faith to see through the thing that God has called us to.
  • When God calls us, we have all heaven's resources available to do the things he has called us to. 
  • When Moses led a nation, it wasn't because of his unique talents, it was because he had heard God calling him - and that gave him the faith, the anointing and the authority to do it. 
  • Often we can have doubts about the thing that God is calling us to but we need to remember the character of the one who has sent us.
  • God enables and empowers us to do all that he has called us to do.
  • Our gifts and talents may help us, but they can't tear down walls or part seas - only God can do that.
  • In the place of weakness we can remind ourselves of the call that God has put on our lives.
  • We have not done anything to deserve our callings - we aren't chosen because of our good qualities but because he loves us.
  • We can take the pressure off of ourselves when we realise that God can make a success out of anything.
  • In Psalm 139, we learn that God is always close and he even knows our thoughts!
  • We don't have to be perfect to respond to God's call.

Judith's Own Calling Story

  • Judith became a Christian at the age of 8 and she never wanted to lead a church or be married to a church leader - but God had other plans.
  • She married a man who 18 months later became a church leader, and then she was called into church leadership herself.
  • She has had different callings in different seasons of her life. 
  • God gave Judith a picture where she saw the bride of Christ and Jesus's love and passion for her despite the imperfections. 
  • She became overwhelmed with love for the church and knew she was called to make the bride ready. 
  • When the door of church leadership opened she eagerly responded because she was stepping into the call of God for her life.
  • She was given the opportunity to lead a church site in a new area - and when she woke up each morning, she had doubts about whether she was the right person.
  • Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies!
  • But knowing God's calling gives ammunition against those voices the come from inside or from outside. 
  • Laugh at discouragement that comes your way. 
  • Moses was insecure about his speech, but God gave him Aaron to help - and he still called Moses.
  • God didn't make a mistake when he called us. 
  • Do you know what you have been called from heaven to do?

Q&A

1. How do you help people who aren't sure of their calling?
  • Sometimes it is hard to know what your calling is.
  • You discover it from the place of intimacy with God. 
  • Prophetic words can help - but there needs to be something in our hearts that jumps when we hear it. 
  • When God has given us something, be patient with it.
  • God may call us to push at doors.
2. How important is it that other people recognise and affirm what you are called to?
  • It is important to them as they receive your calling.
  • It is not our responsibility to make them receive it - we need to be faithful to what God has shown us and he will make a way for us. 
  • They will start to understand as they see us live it out.
3. Can you give any examples or wisdom of looking past people's humanity to see their calling? 
  • Sometimes when you find people irritating, the best way to see the calling on them is to go to the Holy Spirit and pray for them.
  • We tend to be very affected by first impressions - but we need to look beyond this. 
4. How have other leaders helped you find your own calling?
  • As Judith stepped into situations, doors have opened for her. 
  • She has been encouraged by leaders around her. 
  • She has received a lot of help and encouragement from her husband - he is both her biggest supporter and biggest critic (in a helpful way!).
  • The only way you can be the best you can be is to learn from others around you.
5. When you started leading the new community, were you asked to do this first or did you feel you should do it before you were asked?
  • As a church, they were talking about planting into Longsight. They were thinking about who could lead it.
  • Somebody suggested Judith and there was unanimous agreement.
  • At that moment she started to feel excited about it.
6. How do you keep the balance between thinking about the big calling and the next practical steps?
  • Put yourself in places where you can grow and be strengthened.
  • Ask God what you should be doing. 
  • Be faithful in the little things. 
7. Do you think God gives callings to churches as well as individuals? If so, what does it look like at Kings Church?
  • Yes he does - there are lots of churches in Manchester and each has different ways of doing things and reaching people 
  • God spoke to people at Kings once they had reached capacity at their building about not going for a bigger building but small communities all around the city.
  • They have seen God's favour on it - and people who have gone to form those communities have a new lease of life. 
8. What do you with people who feel called to something that you don't see, and with people who you think are called but they don't see it themselves.
  • Talk to them about why they think they are called and pray about it with them.
  • Explore why you can't see it - perhaps you need to squint. 
  • Be honest with them.
  • It's not ultimately enough to tell them they are called. Give them the word but they need the revelation for themselves.

Recommended Resources

To accompany this hangout, we recommend the following book:

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