discipleship small-group

The cost of responding to God’s call

Exploring our vocation and calling from God is exciting. But is there a cost?

An Open Doors small group reflection

Topic: the cost of folowing our calling
Bible: Mark 12:28-31; 2 Timothy 1:8–14


Exploring our vocation and calling from God can be exciting. But what does godly vocation look like for persecuted Christians? And what can we learn about hearing the call of God on our own lives?


  • Read Mark 12:28-31

First, we have to recognise that we all have a calling – our primary and most wonderful calling in life is to a relationship with God. This call is on the life of every human being. And, as Jesus says in Mark 12:28-31, when we answer that call, we find we are called to serve others.

It is only then that we may also discover a calling that is unique and specific to each one of us, utilising our own unique set of gifts, skills and circumstances.

But what about Christians who, if they reveal their faith, will likely be persecuted for it? Does God call them to specific ministries?

The answer is yes.


Shekhar* from India became a Christian after someone gave him a Bible. It wasn’t long before he felt God call him to ministry in the church. His compassionate leadership was largely geared toward small prayer and worship meetings in peoples’ homes, particularly when people needed healing or comfort. But it has come at a cost.

  • Watch this video about Shekhar in India.

To download this video – and gain access to other videos and resources – log in to your account, or register for a free church account today.


  • What do you think Shekhar’s calling cost him? What has been the effect on his family?
  • “When we follow the Lord after leaving everything, our relatives, neighbours and many people come and persecute us,” Shekhar says. “But Jesus says that the person who suffers for Him is blessed (Matt. 5:10).” How might Shekhar have been blessed for following Jesus?

Background: Persecution in India

India’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and for decades, India has been a place of respite for people of many faiths fleeing oppression. But the persecution of Christians in India is intensifying in many parts of the country as Hindu extremists aim to cleanse India of the presence and influence of believers.

This is leading to an often violent and carefully orchestrated targeting of Christians and other religious minorities in many parts of India. Increasing numbers of states are implementing anti-conversion laws, which purport to prevent coerced conversion, but are often abused to harass and intimidate Christians with false accusations of bribing people to convert.


  • Read 2 Timothy 1:8–14
  • What is the special task to which Paul says he has been called?
  • What have been the consequences of Paul following this calling?
  • What helps him to keep going?
  • How is the experience of Shekhar similar to that of Paul?


Although Shekhar and his family have been shaken by their ordeal, Shekhar knows that the call of God on his life is stronger than anything he might face as a church leader in India. “I’ll keep serving God till my last breath, even in happiness or sadness, even if I have to suffer greatly or slightly, even if I have to give my life for God,” he says resolutely. “I cannot stop serving God. I cannot live without serving God because I’ve surrendered my whole life to Him.”

Shekhar understands that his primary call is to be in relationship with God. He knows that, when his foundation is Jesus, then he can stand firm, no matter what life throws at him.

No matter what season of life we find ourselves in, no matter where we feel God may be calling us – or even if we feel completely lost – Jesus is always beckoning us closer to Him.


  • Think about our primary calling. What does it look like for you to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ (Mark 12:30)? And what does it look like for you to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (v.31)?
  • Is there something more that you feel God is calling you to? The cost of our calling may not look like Shekhar’s, that doesn’t mean there isn’t risk or pain in the process. What do you think it will cost you?
  • Sometimes we don’t always hear God right, or other priorities (health, family, etc.) take precedence. How can we help one another with these kind of difficulties?


  • As well as his ministry, Shekhar has seen God’s hand at work in his suffering. Give thanks for areas where you seen God at work in your life recently.
  • Pray for one another, that we would all find a place to use our unique abilities for God.


  • Shekhar has been encouraged and spurred on in his calling by others. Who can you encourage in their calling, vocation or ministry this week?


Back to resources

Get involved

Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus. Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.