My mother was a little Japanese lady, only 4’11” tall. Throughout the years I was growing up, she would always say, “My Dougie is going to be a doctor.” I never became a medical doctor but when I received my Doctor in Ministry degree, she was so proud. She had watched the journey of my life and had seen how God changed me. Before she passed away many years ago, she also looked at me as her pastor. The last words she spoke to me before she crossed over into eternity were, “Dougie, pray.” It was a holy moment to me for my mother to see me not as just her son, but also a man of God that she trusted.
While God called me into vocational ministry instead of the medical field, the reality is that we are all called to full-time ministry. We just have different places of stewardship. God calls some of us to the marketplace, education, the media, and more. Bill Bright, Loren Cunningham, and others initially coined the phrase calling these the Seven Mountains (or spheres) of Influence. First and foremost, we make a Covenant commitment with the Lord, then God gives us a passion to do what He has called us to do.
Something powerful happens when we surrender to God’s call. Dr. Randall Pannell, former interim president at North Greenville University, has been a friend and mentor for many years and was my theology professor back in the 1980s. One day he told me, “Doug, your calling is what God puts you into, wherever it may be. Being in vocational ministry is not easy. So if there is anything else that carries your passion more than this, then go do it.” For me, there was no greater passion, and the Lord has kept me in this journey now for over 40 years! And I’ve never looked back.
Leonard Ravenhill once wrote me a note in his scribbly handwriting that said, “Doug, let others live on the raw edge or the cutting edge. You and I shall live on the edge of eternity.” Those words have stuck with me all these decades and remind me that, at the end of the day, there are multitudes upon multitudes in the valley of decision. Many, right now, are face to face with eternity, and He is counting on us to share the Good News and rescue lives.
What has God called you to do? Where has He called you to serve? Whatever that looks like, we are called to be missionaries to the culture. Ask God today to revive Your passion for souls so that, together, we can see the expansion of Kingdom of God!
For more on this topic, listen to Doug’s podcast with Tom Phillips from our Transforming Leadership Series!
Dr. Doug Stringer is founder and president of Somebody Cares America/International. As an America of Asian descent, Doug is considered a bridge-builder of reconciliation amongst various ethnic and religious groups. He is a sought-after international speaker, addressing topics such as persevering leadership, reconciliation, community transformation, revival, and more. He is host of “A Word in Season with Doug Stringer & Friends,” with new programs posted weekly on the Charisma Podcast Network.