Pastoral Guidance



~ By Rev. Mangthianlal Thangniang*


The 21st Century is pregnant with challenges and unlimited opportunities for students. There is a mixture of alarm and excitement. Alarm because there are countless challenges where any students can be trapped and fallen along the way. And excitement due to the unlimited ways one can explore ones potentials to fulfill dreams. And for Christian students, there is no better generation or century in which one can grow in knowledge and skill and at the same time serve God and the society. I prayerfully seek God’s guidance what most important message can I communicate to 21st Century Christian Zillais (students) as I prepare to write this. In this article, I would like to concentrate on some areas where 21st Century Christian students must whole heartedly give their focus in order to live out the purpose of their existence and live a fulfilled life, which is pleasing to God and the society.


1. Prepare for SGE


What I meant by SGE is the idea of Specialization – Globalization – Evangelization. When I first visited South Korea in 2001, I heard a senior pastor, Rev. Ryu, encouraging university students to whole heartedly give their best in their studies and excel in such a way that they will specialize in their respective subject and career. Once they are very good at their area (SPECIALIZATION – mastery of the craft), then doors across the globe will be open for them (in a way we can call that GLOBALIZATION – global placement). They will get opportunity to serve the government or people across the length and breadth of their country or around the world because they are specialist or one of the best in their field. And when that happens, as a redeemed community, the next step is to use that platform to serve God and share the gospel (EVANGELIZATION – witnessing lifestyle). This sharing of the gospel is effectively conceptualize and powerfully demonstrated when words and deeds go side by side.And if the gospel is truly goodnews for us, and if it is meaningful to us - why must not we share it to others?[1]


2. Where You Serve the Government/Society Can Be a Holy Ground


Steve Green, president of the Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby, says, “[H]is company could have never succeeded without divine intervention, declaring that the national retail craft store belongs to God…This is not our company. This is God's company. What are we to do? We are to operate it according to the principles He has given us in His word."[2]

There is another story told and retold about how our ‘secular’ position and privilege can be a place to serve God also and not just the government and the people:

January 1995, J. Robert Ashcroft has fewer than 48 hours to live (holding on to life – hoping to see his son sworn into US Senate the following). At a small reception -  Ashcroft asked his son to play piano while everyone sang, “We are Standing on Holy Ground.” After the song, the frail man spoke some powerful words: “John, I want you to know that even Washington can be holy ground. Wherever you hear the voice of God, that ground is sanctified. It’s a place where God can call you to the highest and best.”[3]

Whatever studies, research, projects and trainings we are undertaking; whatever environment we are placed; and to whatever job we are taking up, that place can be a holy ground - a place of fellowshipping with God and receiving His divine revelation and direction.

3. Your Workplace is Your Mission Field, No Matter What Others May Say


Sometimes we fall into the trap of the enemy of the Cross and believe in worldviews who opposed Christian thoughts. But the reality is that our life and job cannot be separated from our faith and values. Abraham Kuyper once said that no area of human life is neutral. Here is a very beautiful testimony from a person I heard him once:

Scott Neil MacLellan, a successful entrepreneur and corporate executive, had always assumed that if he wanted to serve God he’d need to leave the business world and get involved in full-time ministry. So he put God on hold until  retirement. That is, until he clearly sensed God speaking this message to his heart: What makes you think I am somehow separate from your work? The revelation launched him on a quest to honor God where he is… in the marketplace, right now.[4]

Whatever studies, research, projects and trainings we are undertaking; whatever environment we are placed; and to whatever job we are taking up, that place can be a mission field - a place to witness the love and power of Christ Jesus – if we are willing! And we must be willing for someone said, “Christ died for us in public, do not live for him in private!”


4. Choosing Career From Christian Perspective


From Crown Financial Ministries there is a very beautiful thought regarding choosing our vocation: “When choosing a vocation Christians must weigh their priorities very carefully, because when we are out of God's priority guidelines, we are out of His will.”[5]Bible exhorts and encourages us to do everything for God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31).


According to Dakota Pippins, “Three forces govern Christians’ career decisions.”[6]They are: Sinful Motivations -Desire for human approval; love of money; desire to build an earthly legacy. These are selfish ends; Creative Passions - Basically it is what you are good at – accounting, knitting, computer programing, etc.; and Redemptive Passions - Desire to join Jesus Christ in his work of restoring this fallen world.    

Most people choose a career that combines both creative passions and sinful motivations. Example – a lawyer trying to make lots of money.The challenge – adding redemptive passions to the mix focuses. However, if sinful motivations are still present, we attempt to serve two masters (Lk. 16:13). The center of the Venn Diagram (which mixes sinful motivations, creative passions and redemptive passions) is not an acceptable one.


Therefore, find a purpose-driven career at the intersection of your creative and redemptive passions – at the mixing of creative and redemptive passions! Here intersects creative and redemptive passions: take what you are good at and also take what you want to do for Jesus Christ (or what God want you to do). Then, put them together!



5. The Need to Pay Attention to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Diagram: Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


According to Maslow, human beings basic physiological needs are food, sleep, health and the like. Most of us, if not all, will give priority in life on these needs. And as the priority needs are being fulfilled from the basic (physiological) to safety and even to esteem, the last desire or need to be fulfill is self-actualization. Many people failed here. Individuals like Elvis Presley, Jiah Khan, Marilyn Monroe, Tony Scott and others are a few example. Instead of having a sense of fulfillment in their career and in their specialty, they felt the vacuum in spite of the success, glamour and fame.


Here lies the challenge and opportunity for 21st Century Christian students. Everyone of us has potentials given to us by our Creator God. This is for the use of serving the people, government and God. Matthew 25:14-30 clearly states that all of us have talent/skill to multiply and use. And when we unleash this to its limitless potentiality to serve God and others, we feel a sense of purposefulness and fulfillment. We feel that our individual’s self is worth and beneficial. We feel that the purpose of our existence is served. If we miss here, we miss everything! St. Augustine’s famous words, “The heart of a man is restless, until it finds its rest in Thee” is very much related here.


No matter what positions we have achieved in the ladder of life and privileges we enjoy in our services, if we do not understand this Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which only God can fill - and consciously used in serving Him, the government and society - our life will always remain unfulfilled and emptiness will always creep in morning after morning.


6. Remember the Five Purposes Why God Created You


Donna Doss summarizes Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life”.[7] Since it is so important, I summarize her summary here of the five purposes why God created you:


You were planned for God’s pleasure -Bringing enjoyment to God, living for his pleasure, is the first purpose of your life. He wants you to enjoy your life, not just endure it. We often forget that God has emotions too. He feels things very deeply. WORSHIP is doing everything as if you’re doing it for Jesus;


You were formed for God’s family - When we place our faith in God, God becomes our father, we become his children, other believers become our brothers and sisters, and the church becomes our spiritual family. You should value believers’ relationship more than any other people;


You were created to become like Christ - God wants you to take his values, attitude and character;


You were shaped for serving God - You were put on earth to make a contribution. God designed you to make a difference with your life. You were created to add to life on earth. This is called “ministry” or “service”;


You were made for a mission - God wants you to have both a ministry in the body of Christ and a mission in the world. Your ministry is your service to believers, and your mission is your service to unbelievers. 


7. Train in Evangelism and Biblical Expository Skill


Two important Biblical passages exhorted us to be ready for evangelism and Biblical exposition – 1 Peter 3:15 (But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect) and 2 Timothy 4:2 (Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction).


Ask these questions to yourselves: If the gospel is so good to me..if it transforms me…why must I keep it to myself…if Christ Jesus redeemed me…why must I serve only the government and society and not my Lord, God and Savior? If the gospel means so much to me, why must not I prepare to share it to others who need to hear from me? If the Bible is so alive to me, why must not I be training in biblical exposition?


It is important as students and also as employees in various capacities that we fill our spiritual tank and undergo different spiritual trainings for ourselves and for missions whenever possible .


Ending thoughts


No matter who we are, what we are and what we do, we are the Lord’s and He is our Creator. Aligning ourselves and our life for his glory is what God requires of us. Everyone is called to live for God’s glory. God in Jesus Christ has invited us to a life of bearing fruits, not just fruits but an abundant life! “Wherever we are in our vocation, if Jesus is Lord of our lives, that place is a holy place of service for him!”[8]May God help us to live for his glory as we serve Him, the government and others.


* The writer is an ordained minister and serves as President & CEO at Glocal Volunteers. He can be reached at glocalvolunteers(at)gmail(dot)com.GV is founded as a  response to generational challenges and opportunities and engage in integrated mission.It’s head office is at Ebenezer Villa, Hill Town, Churachandpur.



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