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October-November 2020

Around the Corner


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Navigating the Call

By Brad Ransom


The “call” on a person’s life is often the highlight during revival services, youth camp, summer mission trips, or the National Convention. I still remember God’s call on my life nearly 40 years ago. It thrills my heart to hear a young man say, “God has called me to preach” or “God has called me to missions.”

God’s call is the highest call on our lives. We can follow our hearts, accept job promotions, or continue our education, but nothing is greater than the call of God. Without the call, I always urge young people, don’t do it! If a person tries to preach, plant a church, or go to a faraway land without it, it won’t be a good experience.

However, just because God calls a young person into ministry doesn’t necessarily mean He has called them to do a specific thing. What I mean is, young men who are called to preach sometimes assume every man God calls to preach should be a pastor. Or, that every pastor could be a church planter or missionary.

I do not believe this is necessarily true. While I do not believe God has made me a prophet to confirm or justify His call on someone’s life, I do believe God has wired us or gifted us to do certain things in ministry better than others. Some are better administrators, while some are better at working with people. Some are natural-born leaders while others do better following the lead of someone else. These things are not good or bad, better or worse. They are how God wired us. We need to know how God has gifted us, so we don’t seek ministry situations that are not a fit. Too many great men and women of God have been injured in ministry unnecessarily. The call was correct, but the ministry fit was not. This is why I believe in ministry assessment.

Assessment looks deep into the calling, but it also examines personality, skills, philosophy, and the heart of an individual to identify the best fit for ministry. Assessment can be carried out in a number of ways. For church planters, the most comprehensive way is an onsite church planter assessment center. I have been involved in church planter assessment for over a decade. My first such assessment experience was going to an onsite assessment center to examine potential church planters. During that first trip, my flight was delayed overnight because of weather, and I missed the new assessor orientation. I felt like a fish out of water that first time, but, over the years, God has shown me the value of assessment.

After coming to North American Ministries, our team began using assessment as a tool to help us send out church planters. NAM recently launched an on-site assessment center that gives us an in-depth look into gifts and abilities. Since implementing assessment, we have seen an increased success rate of launching strong churches and church plants go self-supporting exponentially quicker. Most of our churches today launch ten times stronger than in years past. I attribute much of this success to assessment among other contributing factors.

It is very expensive to launch a new work anywhere in the United States. We are stewards of God’s resources, and we want to make sure we are doing the best we can with what God gives us. We don’t always get it right, and assessment is no guarantee of success. However, it is a way to help guide those who have God’s call on their lives. After assessment, sometimes, we gently tell someone he isn’t gifted to be a lead church planter. That is never easy. But we also haven’t seen the numbers of wounded and discouraged leaders from times past. We know God still calls, and we want to be a part of the process of getting the right people to the right places.

Everyone God calls has a place in ministry. If you’ve ever felt God leading you to plant a church or work on a church planting team, contact us and let us help you navigate the way. We would love to help you find your best fit in ministry and put the call of God to action in your life.

About the Writer: Dr. Brad Ransom is chief training officer for North American Ministries. Interested in church planting? Visit to get started today.


©2020 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists