the shape of leadership

Helping Youth Discern a Call to Ministry

A resource for the next generation of leaders

Jade Crook on April 27, 2021

Investing in the next generation of Assemblies of God credentialed ministers is a high priority for the leaders of our Fellowship.

A quick look at statistics shows why. According to our most recent statistics, 34% of U.S. AG adult adherents are between 18 and 34 years of age. However, just 12% of credentialed ministers are in the same age range. In other words, the next generation is underrepresented in our ministerial ranks.

This happens even though many students sense God’s call to enter full-time ministry from a young age. Unfortunately, they don’t know where to start, and current leaders often don’t know how to help them. This results in students getting lost in the mix, giving up on their call, or waiting years before answering it.

Enter Called.

John Zick has served in youth ministry for over a decade and knows the pressures and challenges youth pastors face when trying to help students answer God’s call. He also understands the unique honor God gives youth pastors to disciple and mentor the next generation, and he wants to ensure that opportunity is stewarded well.

That’s why Zick wrote Called. This book is designed to help students bridge the gap between sensing their call and starting their ministry right now, right where they are.

A student’s call is something to celebrate, but the emphasis is placed on the process of building a healthy foundation now rather than focusing on the call itself. Speaking directly to youth students, Zick devotes each chapter to one of six principles:

1. Build disciplines. Students need to be careful about how they spend their time and what they allow into their lives as they establish healthy spiritual, mental and relational habits.

God has uniquely designed every individual with various abilities, passions and talents.

2. Start serving. Ministry is about servanthood. Students don’t have to wait until they are “qualified” or asked to help. They can start where they are, with what they have, looking for ways to serve in their home, church and community.

3. Seek community. Students should intentionally seek out a Paul, Barnabas and Timothy in their lives — people who will help develop, encourage and stretch them.

4. Discover gifts. God has uniquely designed every individual with various abilities, passions and talents. As students discover and develop these gifts, they should use them as tools to fulfill their calling.

5. Learn passions. Students should take time to identify what their holy discontent is — what problems or issues they want to see solved — and consider how they can be a part of the solution.

6. Never arrive. The feeling of arrival is a dangerous place to be, so students must look for healthy ways to continue learning and growing.

Zick doesn’t present these principles as a guaranteed formula for success. Rather, he suggests they represent a common thread in the stories of those who have experienced success in ministry.

Through practical teaching, biblical support, and personal stories, students will learn why these principles are important and how to incorporate them into their lives now to experience health and longevity in ministry. The goal is to empower leaders with the resources they need to equip young people to start answering God’s call on their lives and to see an increase in young, qualified ministry leaders covering the earth with the gospel.

Called is one piece of a larger “Called” pipeline, four phases that create an intentional path for the next generation of leaders. The purpose of this pipeline is to train leaders to create Holy Spirit moments so students can identify, and be challenged to answer, their call; equip students with resources to fulfill their call; release qualified leaders into healthy churches around the world; and provide ongoing leadership development so leaders stay Spirit-empowered, biblically engaged, and missionally minded.

Called will be released in May 2021. For more information, visit

This article appears in the Spring 2021 issue of Called to Serve, the Assemblies of God Ministers Letter.

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