Resourcing Students to Follow Their Calling 

March 11, 2024

Helping students discover, develop, and be deployed in their calling is one of the most important jobs we have in our families, churches, and communities. 

Unfortunately, too many young people have fallen through the cracks and lost track of their callings after life-changing encounters with God due to a lack of follow-up and follow-through from the adults around them. Perhaps you’ve experienced this?

If you are reading this article, let me say that you are called! 

But what exactly does that mean and are there resources available to individuals as young as elementary school students to embrace their calling?

Let me back up and tell a bit of my story.

When I was in middle school, my cousins and I were dropped off one morning at my grandparents’ house. It wasn’t Sunday afternoon, which is when we had family dinner. So, I thought it was a cool play date on the small farm. We had fun that day, but my time became more interesting when my grandfather began to take each child out for a walk. When it was my turn, grandpa walked me past the apple and plum trees, paused, and turned toward me. He told me that he had been praying for all of us and he specifically wanted me to know that I had a calling on my life. He knelt down where he could look me in my eyes,  laid his weathered, calloused, farmer hands on my forehead, and he gave me his blessing. 

About an hour after the blessing, we were all playing on the porch, my grandfather laughing and joking with us while sitting in his reading chair. After a while, I looked over to find him taking a nap. The next time I looked over at grandpa, his chest raised really high and his exhale seemed really long. His chest didn’t rise again. 

My grandfather, a marketplace multiplier who had deep respect in our church and our community, had gone home to be with the Lord. But before he left us, he gave me and my other cousins the blessing of some of his last words. 

It would take me years to fully comprehend the power of that moment on our walk and the grief that followed that day, but I have never forgotten what he did and, more importantly, what he said.

Fast forward 40 years and part of my calling is helping kids, teens, and young adults, as well as parents/guardians and their leaders navigate their relationship with God and his calling on their lives. 

I must admit I’ve seen this done well in seasons and, at other times, I have felt like we should be sued for malpractice. 

One particular part that I have felt a great deal of a burden for in our movement, The Wesleyan Church, is to help create or curate some type of resource that can come alongside families to assist in the discovery, development, and deployment process. 

After my grandfather spoke his words over me, there was a myriad of people God sent to help shape my next steps. I want that for everyone who hears and responds to their call. 

Recently, I rallied a group of the best and brightest minds in Next Gen to dream together about what we could do to serve students and families. We realized there were a lot of students being called into ministry at our Wesleyan camps, churches, colleges, and conferences, but we weren’t seeing the kind of follow-up take place consistently that we all could be proud of. Yes, there were pockets we could learn from, but, as a whole, we all felt like more could be done. We needed some type of centralized online platform that anyone could get to with internet access. This calling platform would focus on relationships as students were pursuing their calling in the context of community. Where we landed is the creation of a platform named Follow the Call,

Our denominational leaders also saw the need and invested funds to create the platform. I was able to bring on two incredible young adults, Clay Crofford and Tyler Sanders, who helped build it. We didn’t have a ton of time as one of our largest events, our International Wesleyan Youth Convention called FOLLOW, was scheduled for December 28-30, 2023.  We knew there would be a main session where we would talk specifically about calling and invite students to respond. We had about 4,700 students and leaders in attendance and during session four, I opened the time with a message about Joseph and calling. But instead of closing the message, I was able to hand the baton to one of our young leaders, Olivia Williamson, Director of Claim Your Campus, who gave the invitation. 

More than 450 students responded to one of three calls: Vocational/pastoral, marketplace, or missions. We developed the QR code for them to instantly register with Follow the Call, but we also had them fill out cards we collected to capture their info. It was one of the most beautiful moments I think I’ve ever experienced in ministry – watching students say yes to Jesus and there being a way for us to follow up with them and their youth leaders. 

Now, we are in the early phases of training and developing a team of what we call Connectors and Mentors. Our Connectors are our first touch point. They help students who express onsite that they’d like a connector to walk through our discovery process with them. Some of our students already have amazing leaders who fill this role, but others still need someone to make that connection. Leaders all around our movement have agreed to step up and step into these roles. 

One of the powerful parts of the discovery process is a curriculum called Quest. This curriculum was developed through a grant at Southern Wesleyan University and has been tested over the course of several years at camps and other events. 

From there, Connectors either become Mentors or students are assigned a Mentor for the development and deployment pathways. Each pathway has multiple on-ramps for students who are beginners or seasoned in their calling journey. We have curriculum, events (like Exponential), and cohorts so students can go deeper in their learning journey with others in the context of community. 

We just launched in December, but this is a step in the right direction for us as a movement. Interestingly, we are building the bridge as we walk across. So we are still learning and more and more students and leaders are joining. 

I offer this as just one way we have learned to help resource students as they pursue their calling. I would love to hear what you are doing in your denomination or movement. We can all learn from each other and there is more ground we can take together than we can individually.  

Maybe we can put our minds and resources together to help each other capture the callings of our young people and point them to safe spaces where they can grow together in the context of community.

I am now a grandfather and I want to represent what Cicero Beatty did for me about 40 years ago. Will you join me?

Santes Beatty

Santes Beatty

Santes has 27 years of ministry and leadership experience as a local church pastor, denominational leader, higher education administrator, speaker, and coaching consultant.  Currently, he serves as the Director of Next Gen for The Wesleyan Church as well as the point person for this work in several districts in the United States and Canada. He has a Masters of Ministry Leadership with a focus on Youth Ministry from Huntington University in Indiana and has been ordained as both a Wesleyan and Baptist minister.  He continues to serve locally as the Student Pastor of ONE Church in High Point, North Carolina, but also serves nationally as the Director of Regional Conferences and Curriculum for Mosaix Global Network and is an Executive Coaching Consultant and speaker for Second Chair Solutions.  In all these roles, he helps to equip and resource leaders, their churches, universities, and organizations to see them reach their full potential. Prior to these roles, he served as Lead Pastor of Mosaic Midtown in Detroit and Director of Multiethnic Ministries for The Wesleyan Church.  He is an itinerant speaker for Fuller Youth Institute and an instructor for Kingswood Extended, a ministerial credentialing arm of The Wesleyan Church that is housed at Kingswood University in Canada. Santes is a native of Raeford, North Carolina, but currently resides in Greensboro with his wife Nicole. They have five children: Tesia, Christian, Josiah, Serenity, and Sarah as well as a granddaughter, Nalani. They also have a fur baby named Cami (their Golden Retriever).
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