Courage and Calling: Embracing Your God-Given Potential, By Gordon T. Smith

Courage and Calling

Embracing Your God-Given Potential

Third Edition

by Gordon T. Smith

Courage and Calling
  • Length: 312 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: May 28, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0937
  • ISBN: 9781514009376

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You have a calling.

First, God calls us all to know and love him. Second, for each individual there is a specific call—a defining purpose or mission, with implications for all of life.

In this classic book on vocation, Gordon Smith invites you to discover your calling by listening to God and becoming a coworker with him. Courage and Calling has helped thousands of readers explore questions such as these:

  • What is my calling?
  • How do I live it out in the midst of difficult relationships or moral challenges?
  • Will my vocation change as I enter a new stage of life?
  • With competing needs and demands, how can I craft a balanced way of living?

Smith explores how to pursue excellence in all kinds of work and how to continue growing throughout a lifetime. He also considers four examples of particular callings: business, the arts, education, and religious leadership.

This third edition includes a new chapter that explores how a church community can be a dynamic venue for discerning vocation. Church leaders can help sustain a conversation about vocation, work, and career, and celebrate the diverse ways in which God is calling people. From students exploring careers to elders leaving a legacy, this book provides rich insight for all who long to courageously follow God's call.

"This book is the best resource for thinking about your calling as a leader and contributor to kingdom work. Gordon Smith raises all the important considerations and questions about how to serve and how long to serve. This book changed my life. It could change yours."

Shirley V. Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

"I have used Courage and Calling as the core of our summer young adult internship for years. I am delighted to see an updated edition to serve the next generation of people considering questions of Christian calling and vocation."

Bob Wriedt, senior pastor of Grace Community Church of Seal Beach

"Gordon Smith's wise and thorough exploration of calling provides an essential resource for all Christians seeking God's design for their life. Smith has a gift for untangling complex issues with ease as he presents a coherent path forward that will inspire readers. His wisdom, engaging anecdotes, and commitment to Scripture weave together to form a book that reads like a conversation with a trusted friend. Readers will find this updated edition well worth their time as they encounter new insights from Smith's thoughtful writing."

J.L. Miller, chair of religion at Houghton University

"Gordon Smith has updated his seminal work on vocation. His understanding of vocation is informed by his own journey, deep understanding of Scripture, and generous familiarity with what others have contributed to the conversation. Smith's perspective is always practical, connecting an understanding of vocation to the individual's self-understanding and current life context. This book stands the test of time and belongs in the essential canon of writings on a Christian vision of vocation."

Luke S. Fetters, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Huntington University

"Courage and Calling has been so helpful to many of our university and seminary students over the years. The new edition's discussion of the role of the Christian community in understanding calling is an important addition. Understanding one's calling should not be a solo event. The church and academic community are critical in the journey of discovery. I look forward to sharing this book with future students."

Jonathan Grenz, dean of the School of Ministry at Palm Beach Atlantic University

"Courage and Calling invites Christians of all ages and stages to live with intention, attentive to God's call throughout life's journey. This comprehensive and eminently accessible approach to vocation blends biblical wisdom with practical insights from Gordon Smith, complete with apt examples. An excellent guide to read in conversation with others."

Rhonda McEwen, associate professor of education and culture at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia

Read an Excerpt


1. Stewards of Our Lives: Navigating Change with Grace and Courage
2. The Meaning of Our Work: A Theological Vision for Engaging Our World
3. Seeking Congruence: The Character of Vocational Integrity
4. Chapters in Our Lives: Vocation and the Stages of an Adult Life
5. As Unto the Lord: The Pursuit of Excellence, Truth, Diligence and Generosity
6. Thinking Vocationally: Wisdom for the Road
7. Four Callings: Business, the Arts, Education and Religious Leadership
8. Courage and Character: Turning from the Fear That So Easily Entangles Us
9. The Capacity for Continuous Learning: The Way We Stay Alive and Engaged
10. The Cross We Bear: Difficulty and Emotional Maturity
11. Working with and Within Organizations: Leveraging Our Work with the Work of Others
12. The Ordered Life: Between Solitude and Community
13. Vocation and Community: Fostering a Shared Vision for the Work to Which We Are Called



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Gordon T. Smith

Gordon T. Smith is the president of Ambrose University and Seminary in Calgary, Alberta, where he also serves as professor of systematic and spiritual theology. He is an ordained minister with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and a teaching fellow at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of many books, including Institutional Intelligence, Called to Be Saints, and Your Calling Here and Now.