The humble beginnings of The Calling took place in an 18 year old’s heart, where God truly demonstrated that nothing is impossible with Him.
The girl’s name was Chrysandra Brunson, then an imaginative senior at Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, Colorado. In a class called Senior Project she received the seemingly simple assignment to create any project her heart desired and bring it to fruition. Some of her classmates began to work on projects to build snowboards, take swing dance lessons, and one of her best friends was even going to write a full length cookbook. She loved their ideas, but was excited to see what God had in store for her. She truly hoped that somehow through her God would leave a huge legacy at her school that everyone would remember.
She thought and prayed but heard nothing from the Lord. Feeling a little frustrated, she knew she would just have to wait on the Lord’s timing to clearly reveal His plan for her in that Senior Project class. Then one day she was walking down the hallway at school and saw from a distance a group of Christian friends. The Lord stopped her and clearly said, “Chrysandra, so many of my children are afraid to go after the things I am calling them to, and there is no reason to be afraid. I am right here with you, leading you all the way!” She continued to listen and started imagining the possibilities that could result if God’s people fearlessly walked out His calling on their lives. The world would see Jesus in such a new and vivid way and truly know that the abundant life with Jesus Christ is the one in which we were all meant to live. Chrysandra had been impacted by a quote earlier that summer from renowned evangelist Robert Schullar in which he said, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” She realized that this quote seemed to be the best way to target people’s hearts and to learn exactly to what God might be calling them. Well, Chrysandra’s heart was lit with a passion, but she still didn’t know quite what to do with it.
Shortly after, a friend from Dare2Share ministries took Chrysandra to the organization’s office and showed her how they communicated their ministry’s message. As soon as she saw their example, she realized that it was perfectly aligned with the message God had given her. She was going to gather bands, speakers, and performers and have them declare God’s truth from a public platform. The message would be simple: everyone can find abundant life when walking with Jesus! She wanted people to know and understand that it does not mean a life that is easy and without trials; instead, quite the opposite. In spite of the difficulties, following Jesus fearlessly also comes with perfect peace, passion, and joy in the midst of any circumstances. The message would proclaim that Jesus was, is, and will forever continue to be the center of all creation. People would clearly hear that walking with Christ requires intimacy with Him and being like Him in all circumstances. They would hear that He is the reason for all things in Heaven and on earth and nothing should get in the way of surrendering to Him.
It was a great starting point to use this platform to challenge people with the question, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”, but there would have to be a way for people to truly activate God’s calling. This realization was the beginning of Chrysandra’s idea to have businesses and nonprofits on site to activate people’s callings right then and there. The local churches represented at the conference would be able to see the people from their congregations being challenged and then see them return to their home church to live out their callings on a daily basis, but with accountability. The conference would be able to help and direct people, but the leadership of the church would then be responsible for them.
Through the activation of individual callings, the church might see people who were teachers become doctors, ambassadors become farmers, veterinarians become secretaries, engineers become social workers or even businessmen become NFL quarterbacks and receive fat paystubs. God can have any of His children become anything that He has called them to be.
While it seemed quite a lofty vision for Chrysandra’s heart to take on, she loved it and knew that this was indeed her own personal calling. She began working on developing her idea and instead of the 15 hour requirement she ended up spending 240 hours on her Senior Project. Chrysandra started planning the event and calling big-name artists and luminaries, not because she wanted to bring any glory to herself but because she fully believed that God is the great I AM and He is worthy to be praised and honored in all things. Being able to think outside of the ordinary allowed God to take all the credit for how He would bring things together and bring ultimate glory to His Name. However, as Chrysandra began to think outside of the ordinary in big ways she was hit from all directions with people who didn’t believe it could be done. She heard things like, “Chrysandra, you will just have to have a smaller group. Chrysandra, you will just need stop now, otherwise you are going to fail in front of everyone!” However, God continued to give her the strength and focus to do what seemed to be the impossible with Him. He fueled her soul night and day with His Word, fellowship and presence to truly show her that He was with her as she continued to work on her idea.
After nearly three months of effort, planning and praying, the day of the first big event finally arrived: April 11, 2007, This was the day for which God had been preparing Chrysandra, and she could not have been more thrilled with the results. Her first conference at the Rock of Southwest Baptist Church was attended by over 250 people, ranging in age from 3 to 90 years old. God was able to activate many people’s heart callings that day and demonstrate that His message is for anyone and everyone. People were told and reminded of Jesus Christ’s love for them, even in death, and had the opportunity to be reconciled with Him for all eternity. God worked in the hearts of those many people who attended. He activated the dream of a 5-year-old girl with cancer who hoped to start a club at her elementary school to help other kids with cancer. An 87-year-old man found his calling of initiating a game night at his nursing home. The one common denominator was that everyone there was a child of God and needed only to step forward in faith and follow Jesus’ calling for them in all aspects of their lives! Chrysandra’s Senior Project was a huge success.
However, it didn’t end there. Clearly this was more than just a school project and Chrysandra continued to listen to God and move forward. She organized her project into a formal ministry and named it “The Calling.” She continued to pursue venues where people could hear the message of Jesus and activate their own callings. In 2009 The Calling put on another hugely successful conference at Civic Center Park in Denver, and on April 16, 2011, The Calling organized the first Christian conference to ever be held at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater. It was attended by the Grammy award winning band Switchfoot, motivational speaker Rex Crain, and over 7500 people from across the country who all joined together for a life-changing event. What appeared to be the impossible of this world became possible with the living breathing God of the universe!
Little did Chrysandra know that her Senior Project idea would grow into what has now become a global nonprofit reaching across the borders of nations. God is continuing to answer Chrysandra’s prayer of showing this world that nothing is impossible when we follow Jesus fearlessly. These humble beginnings gave way to what is now God’s ministry, THE CALLING!