A Calling Catalyzed
I thought the man looked older than he probably was as I regarded his unremarkable appearance, which was consistent with the rural-poor culture prevalent in the area. I wondered what his accomplishments might have been and what his giftings were. Ours was a small, rural Pentecostal fellowship and on that particular Sunday, he just showed up out of the blue. No one had ever seen him before. It was easy to welcome him among us, as it was with any newcomer for that matter, and after the service ended we invited him upstairs for our usual fellowship meal. In getting to know him a little bit, he had an engaging personality but again, seemed rather unremarkable. That is, until he announced that he was an apostle.
I was thirty-nine years old and had been saved for less than a year at that time, so his declaration intrigued me. But I was also twenty years into a military and law enforcement career, which gave me a healthy suspicion about almost everything. I can’t say at that moment I knew exactly what an Apostle was. Little did I know that this man’s sudden appearance in our church was about to unlock the calling that God had prepared specifically for me before the foundation of the world, which until then, I didn’t know existed.
Our pastor, a fiery preacher and uncompromising Spirit-filled leader, who was well acquainted with the community that surrounded the place where he had been called to plant our church, hadn’t bitten on our visitor’s claim of apostleship. I think our new friend picked up on that and decided to try and be more assertive. A few weeks later in our Sunday morning service, he took an opportunity to stand and announce again to all of us, this time with a qualifier, saying; “I am the Apostle for this area.” It was awkward. Our pastor was set on edge by this, and authoratively demanded; “Who sent you?”
As believers we recognize from scripture that the word ‘Apostle’ literally means; ‘sent one’. In a three-word question, this man was exposed to have come on his own authority, into territory that wasn’t his to take, with the intent to deceive, and was challenged by a pastor, who was his own Watchman, because had to be. Within moments I watched as this man walked away, head down, shoulders slumped forward, never to be seen again. In those moments I awoke to my unique calling from the Lord, the mantle of a Watchman, which I picked up and put on. I have never taken it off.
It would be helpful to note here, that when God reveals your calling, there is nothing that He has done, is doing, or will do in your life that is independent of it. I can clearly see that the years of intensive, mission-specific training I received from the military and federal law enforcement agencies, which had, by then, lost their luster to the familiarity of routine, were commissioned by the Lord. The Holy Spirit began to take those natural warrior concepts and reveal their spiritual applications in the Watchman calling. As a result I am fully equipped and confident in a calling that is more comfortable than my own skin. God funded all of that natural training as well which I know to be valued in excess of a million dollars. The invoice has long been paid in full.
The Call of Watchman
In 1 John 4:1, we are admonished to test the spirits to see if they are from God, because many false prophets and teachers have gone out into the world. As a Watchman it’s easy for me to understand that Satan and his minions are complicit in shoving the blatantly obvious ones, usually attached to people like our church visitor, in front of our faces to lull us into a sense of security. While we develop discernment and gain experience at testing spirits, the same enemy simultaneously inserts the more subtle and dangerous ones into our lives behind our backs, where they can quietly grow their roots in secret. But we shouldn’t read 1 John 4:1 to mean that we are to do this testing of the spirits all on our own. If that were the case, the Body of Christ wouldn’t need members who have unique callings, much less Watchmen.
It is the responsibility of the Watchman to call out the advancing enemy and help those under the Watchman’s care, to turn back the battle at the gate. Unfortunately, the church in large part today, is remiss by not teaching congregations about unique callings in their varieties and applications. Even the proper operation of the five-fold ministry offices is lost on many brethren. As such, those who are called are not commissioned into the corporate body. Often, this is the case because church leadership relies solely on the roles of pastor and elder to protect the congregation from “weirdness.” This model has usurped trusting the Lord to work in power through a layperson. In this neglect, congregations are left to interpret important scriptures, such as 1 John 4:1, individually rather than corporately. The unintended and unimagined consequences of that, are people who feel isolated and helpless in times of need, where they see God’s promises in scripture but haven’t invested time in intimacy to walk in the power to obtain them, never knowing that someone with a unique calling who is anointed and gifted to help them, sits two rows away in church. How do I know this? I am a Watchman. I’ve seen it.
Growing as a Watchman over the years, I have developed the eyes to see and ears to hear the atmosphere around people, places and things. As a federal law enforcement officer working in an American city, I was cognizant that there were streets and neighborhoods that “the police owned” and there were streets and neighborhood the “bad guys owned.” In other words, there were places of greater hazard to me and my colleagues, which required extra personnel, planning and tactics, to go into. My colleagues, looked upon those places as being infested with the “one-percenters” of the criminal element. The same principle holds true in the Body of Christ today.
Similar spirits are continually at work to gain access to the atmospheres and cultures of churches and ministries in much the same way they had in those streets and neighborhoods. They aren’t as blatantly threatening, but every bit as dangerous, because a person such as the one I described earlier, is even less likely to have their need met when they are present. Enter the Watchman, who under the anointing of his or her calling, tears the atmosphere away from the enemy and restores it to the pastoral or apostolic leadership, who then offers it to the Lord for habitation. Needs can then be met, yokes can be destroyed and bondages can be broken.
It’s through trial and error, success and failure, alert and slumber, that we all grow to maturity in our unique calling, and a Watchman is no different. We have this treasure in earthen vessels but the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable (2 Corinthians 4:7, Romans 11:29).
Chris Pfohl is a former U.S. Marine and a retired federal law enforcement officer, who is presently near to completing his first fiction novel. Called by God to be a Watchman in the Body of Christ, he has carried that purpose with a determination to transform the regions he has been called to, beginning with the people immediately around him. Chris currently resides in Charlotte, NC and can be reached at email@example.com.