Career Planning and Discernment

Discover How to Make Decisions Related to Your Career and Give Vocational Advice to Other Believers

Curated by Bethany Jenkins

What is Calling?

Vocation is derived from the Latin word vox, which means “voice” or “vocal.” We think of vocation, then, as living one’s entire life in response to God’s voice or call. It’s more about who we are (identity) and whose we are (belonging) than about what we do.

If we want to be wise in our career choices, then, we must understand what it means to be called by God.

  • Kate Harris - Defining Vocation

Reflection Questions
  1. How is calling bigger than career? Why does this matter?
  2. How does vocation reflect the Trinity, the creation, the incarnation, and the death and resurrection of Christ?

Everyone has a Sacred Calling

Many Christians experience a disconnect between our spiritual lives of worship and our ordinary lives of work. When we open ourselves to the worship of God in us, we experience joy and peace. But when we go to work, we often do not feel that it measures up against our spiritual worship. It feels like second best in comparison to what we were really made for.

Yet, in this video, Andy Crouch explains the intersection between our calling as Christians and our responsibility as human image-bearers.

  • Andy Crouch - What Kind of Calling do all Christians Share?

  1. How do humans worship God?
  2. What is the sacred calling of all humans?
  3. How have we forsaken that calling?
  4. How is God at work restoring that calling?

The Christian's Guide to Career Planning

When we are making decisions about what major to choose or what career to pursue, how do we know which is God’s will? Is one choice better than another? How can I make a decision?

  • Sebastian Traeger - The Christian's Guide to Career Planning

Reflection Questions

In the video above, Sebastian Traeger offers six questions to help guide our career decisions:

  1. Does this job glorify God?
  2. Does this job permit me to live a godly life?
  3. Does this job provide for my needs and allow me to be a blessing to others?
  4. Does this job benefit society in some way?
  5. Does this job take advantage of my gifts and talents?
  6. Is this something I want to do?

Which of these, though, are must-haves? Do they all matter? What should our priorities be? How can we know if a job permits us to live a godly life?

Advice Better than "Follow Your Passion"

Our passions do not make the best guides for our decisions. Yet we often persist in following our passion when it comes to career choices.

The passion-first mindset, which insists that first pursuing your passion will lead to a meaningful career, is fraught to problems. Is there a better way?

In this video, Bethany Jenkins discusses the problems with the passion-first mindset and offers a better alternative, a disciple’s mindset.

  • Bethany Jenkins - Why Skills Trump Passion

Reflection Questions
  1. What are the problems with the “passion-first” mindset?
  2. What marks the disciple’s mindset?
  3. How does a disciple’s mindset better help with career planning?

Called to Advance Holistic Flourishing

We are not only called to bear God’s image, we are also called to restore it where we see it broken or marred. We must actively seek out the places where his image has been lost, even when that means putting ourselves at risk. In every place we live and work, then, we must speak up for those who have no voices.

In this video, Chris Brooks shares his story of being a pastor in Detroit, as the city has struggled significantly. In Detroit, he says, “You can’t preach a gospel that doesn’t bring about holistic transformation,” which includes economic flourishing. “When you preach a gospel that doesn’t ultimate change someone’s life, then you’re vulnerable when another game shows up.”

To explore how economic flourishing matters to the effective preaching of the gospel, and how our callings can be a means to advance the gospel in a way that endures, watch this video.

Reflection Questions
  1. Why does economic flourishing matter to the preaching of the gospel?
  2. In minority urban settings, what are the competing ‘gospels’ to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
  3. What are the three Es that create wealth? How can the church contribute to creating those?