Understanding Your Calling with Philip and Holly Wagner
Phillip and Holly Wagner are the founding and leading pastors of the Oasis Church in Los Angeles. They’ve written books on dating, love, and mending marriages. They’ve founded a non-profit water organization, survived cancer, and recognize the importance of supporting the gifts of your spouse. While Oasis Church has grown and recently moved to new location on Wilshire Blvd, the building is actually a Los Angeles historic landmark built in 1926. Risen sat down with the duo in 2014, in their remarkable church setting to learn more about this driven husband-wife team.
Philip opens up about when he knew that ministry was his calling.
“I have known since I was a boy that I would be involved in ministry. I tried to ignore it and be my own version of Jonah for a while, but anytime I would reengage in my faith, it would automatically also involve serving and leading and being part of a ministry. I didn’t know what that ministry would turn out to be, but I had been a music leader, a youth director, an assistant pastor, and then I wanted to start this church. So when I met Holly, I knew I would be in ministry, and right around the time we started dating I started this Bible study and I invited her to be a part of it. But I don’t think I really knew that she had the calling that she has now. Outside of this church, her realm of influence is much greater than mine, as far as ministry goes. I am often known as Holly’s Husband. [Laughs].”
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
Holly shares her journey to realizing ministry was her calling.
“My dad’s job took us all over the world so I was out of the country most of my life. Even though I was raised in the church, it wasn’t until I was about twenty-one that Jesus became Lord. It took me a few steps to be able to call Him my Savior. And that happened when I was out here [in southern California]. I actually moved out here as an actress. I was hosting a talk show and then I did a bunch of commercials, and did a series, and a few films, and it was kind of in the middle of that when I met Philip. So it was interesting because I was trying to make decisions that honored God as an actress, so that meant turning down a bunch of things, and being careful about what I chose. In the midst of that I was trying to follow God and pay my bills. [Laughs] Then I met Philip and, when we fell in love, I knew our lives were going to be connected. But he never said, “You need to be a certain way.” As far as ministry, he said, “Just be my wife and we’ll figure it all out.” So, for the first few years of the church, I just greeted people at the door as the happy, friendly face. I worked with the kids, I did everything I could to help him reach his dream, but I didn’t really think of it as our dream as much as it was just his dream. I helped him, but I was still working as an actress, and we were very grateful for that in the early years.”
Figure out your calling. God has a calling for each of us. No two people are alike. Similarly, each of our callings is individualized to our personal gifts and talents. Many churches offer classes where you can take a spiritual gifts class and even figure out if there is a ministry or vocation that you would be good at. Take time this week to step back and pray. God reveals His will to us through prayer, reading the Bible and through His Holy Spirit.
Be obedient. It can be difficult once we realize our calling to actually live it out. We might get distracted by other opportunities, a higher paying job or even face criticism from friends and family members. But once God directs you towards something, it is important to be obedient to it. Ask God to give you the faith to step out even if it doesn’t seem to be logical or make sense. Sometimes it can help to get advice or wisdom from a pastor or friend who has made a similar choice.
Encourage someone in their calling. Whether it is your child, someone you mentor or a friend, think through how you can encourage someone else in their calling this week. It could be writing them a note, helping them find a class that will train them or supporting them to go on a mission trip. Think about how other people impacted you and encouraged you in your calling and then return the favor to someone else.
To read our entire interview with Philip and Holly Wagner, click here.
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