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The Call and the Callings

by Rev. Kayla Turner, Campus Director for SEU Ohio


At the age of five, I remember finding myself at every altar call ever offered.  My father was a youth pastor in Poland, Ohio, and I would attend all the youth events ready to respond. I remember one particular event; I had responded to yet another altar call and heard so clearly the Holy Spirit tell me I was called to missions. I then heard the word “Hawaii” and knew, surely this was God!

 

As my father raced around the church later that night shutting lights off and locking up, I trailed behind him excited to share what I heard God tell me that night!

 

“Daddy! Guess what? I’m going to be a missionary to Hawaii!”

 

Three decades later, I can look back at my five-year-old self and confidently say, I was not too far off base.

 

Upon attending Southeastern University and meeting my husband, we ended up staying in Florida for twelve years, surrounded by palm trees and sunshine.  From there we served as campus pastors and SEU directors surrounded by the nations. God then took our family to Los Angeles where we served as pastors and not too far from Hawaii!

 

Jokes aside, over the years, as I have looked back on that night, I have often referred to it as the night I was “called.” However, I have gone on a journey with what “calling” means to us as believers, and along the way my understanding of this concept has shifted from what I’m called to do—to who I’m called to be. It has evolved from being so occupied with where I’m supposed to be, to being focused on the one who is calling me.

 

Stepping into the role of Director over SEU Ohio, my heart is to help each student come to a personal understanding of the fact that they are called by Jesus unto Jesus, for the purpose of furthering the Kingdom through their unique gifts and talents. I have been a worship leader, pastor, professor, artist, author, etc. These are all gifts that have allowed me the space to make Christ’s name known. But the running thread through each season of my life is that I am continually called to Christ. Os Guinness creates a distinction between the who and the what by championing “the call” as our primary calling to live and grow in the love and character of Christ. He then refers to the specific ways in which we each move the Kingdom forward as our secondary “callings.”

 

At Southeastern University Ohio, we seek to empower our students with the deep conviction that they are each “called” and to equip our students with the character to walk in their “callings.” We desire to provide them the knowledge to be critical-forward thinkers who contribute to each space they walk into, with a deep love for God and others that keeps them anchored in every season of life.

 

So whether you are a student asking yourself all the big questions of what’s to come, or a parent worried that your child might miss it, just rest in this: our faith in Christ is the reassurance itself that we have been “called.” And as for those “callings,” no one desires for you or your child to walk in the fullness of his plans more than the author Himself. 

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