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God Calls Everyone by Derek Walmsley

Commendably aims to encourage every believer to work out where they fit in God’s plan, but could be undermined by the way it is presented


God Calls EveryoneGod Calls Everyone
By Derek Walmsley
ISBN 978-1-78893-108-3
Reviewed by Sue Clements-Jewery 

The Revd Derek Walmsley is the Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Vocations(DDO) in the diocese of Leeds. His role involves leading a team of people who accompany and support those who feel called to ministry. Subtitled ‘Finding our place in His great story’ his book aims to encourage every believer to work out where they fit in God’s plan, rather than work out what they can do for God (or indeed what they want Gond to do for them!).

Instead of asking the question: What is God’s plan for my life?
the reader is asked to see vocation/calling as:
What is my role in God’s great plan?

In the author’s words: This isn’t another guide to vocation but a book that gets you to think about what you are doing with your life.
So far, so good. The book has 73 (short) chapters and more than 300 pages. It works its way though the whole of the Bible looking at characters in key narratives. Fifty-eight chapters are taken up with exploration of Old Testament (OT) characters. Major figures (Abraham, Moses) are allocated several chapters.

The New Testament section is much slighter, Jesus himself being covered in seven chapters. The author is keen to stress the reluctance of many characters featured to respond to God’s claim in their lives, along with their flaws and failings, yet to emphasise how they were able to be used. The intention is that each chapter builds on what has gone before, and how the OT is completed in the New, so that any reader wishing to look up a particular characters without reading the whole will need to be aware of this emphasis.

The style is that of a storyteller, who uses humour frequently to make his point. In  the course of reading the book the reader is offered a lot of anecdotal information about the author, his marriage and his family life as well as his journey into ministry.  It made me wonder whether the idea for the book arose out of a series of talks to an adoring congregation.  By the time I got to the NT section I was struggling as the style was so repetitive. The aim of the book is commendable but I suspect undermined by the way it is written and presented.

Sue Clements-Jewery is a former adviser to the Bishop of Leeds in Counselling and pastoral care of the clergy

Baptist Times, 18/02/2022
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