Dr.Randy Marshall, a professional public speaker, teacher of Homiletics and leadership, writer, director of the missions department for planting new churches – spent two weeks in training students within the walls of UBTS. Married for 47 years, a father of three children and a grandfather of 12 grandchildren.

Randy Marshall is one of the favorite professors of UBTS students. We talked to him about the concept of calling, about achieving goals and not confusing them with desires.

I found that some things that I was taught about setting goals in life, were NOT quite right. Often we confuse the concepts of goals and desires. In my opinion, a goal is something that depends directly upon a person, something that the person alone can control and achieve. Desire, however, is beyond the person’s control, and its achievement depends on someone else’s help. Goals depend upon us, desires – don’t!

For instance, I sometimes ask people: “Having a good marriage, is that a good goal?” Or: “Raising good children, is that a good goal?” Usually people answer: “Yes, of course!”

As for me, I do not think so. I am sure those are but good desires. Our spouses and children have a will of their own, and sometimes they do not appreciate our leadership. However, a worthy goal that one may have is to become a good spouse, or a good father.

We must differentiate and never confuse desires and goals. We work on our goals and pray for desires. Not the other way around!

Missionaries use to say: “Work as hard – as if everything depends upon you; pray as much – as if everything depends upon God.” My prayer is that I could accept all the things I cannot change, change all things I can change, and have wisdom to distinguish one from the other.

People tend to fail to plan, fail to build a good strategy, and fail to have a clear vision for their lives exactly because they confuse their goals with desires. I am sure that we all need to have a plan for 3 months, a strategy for one year and a vision for three years ahead. The real key to success in achieving goals is hidden in accurate planning!

However, it all starts with us. Awakening must begin with me first, since I cannot control anyone else, but myself.

– How can we recognize the calling in our lives?

In my opinion, there is a huge difference between our work, our profession and our calling! Every calling involves work and professional growth. We all must want to become the best in class with whatever we do. That is the reason why people even enter the seminaries. To learn from experts, to study the Word, to explore the Scriptures.

However, if we talk about the concept of “calling” – is something quite different! Three things need to be present for our calling to function: a desire (God gives us passion for something), a talent (God gives us the ability to do it), and an opportunity (God opens the door to do it).

God gave all of us a unique DNA or a talent, which remains within us throughout our whole lives. You have a talent that dozens of thousands of others do not have. Our talents are not the same as spiritual gifts. Our talents lead us to “open doors”. Therefore, all three must come together: a desire, a talent, and an opportunity!

Yet the key to the calling is our passion, as something, that we want the most. If God gave you the talent and opened the door, that is fantastic. God cares about the last two, but we should take care of the first one.

– You are not the first time to Ukraine; would you please share your impressions and observations?

I first came to Ukraine in 2010. I met with Oleksandr Savych, as he still was the pastor of the Calvary Church in Lutsk. Afterwards, Oleksandr moved to Lviv and invited me to teach students at the seminary. Since then, I come about twice a year, for straight eight years now. I always do it with a great pleasure. Lately I’ve been coming here 3 to 4 times a year to teach Leadership, or the Art of Preaching.

What really impresses me is the dynamics and rapid growth of the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary. I believe that the key to such success is the right leadership of Yaroslav and a well-selected team. You’ve got a wonderful group of leaders, program directors, all united around a common vision, which allows to build well all processes and the atmosphere of opportunities. The proper leadership is the key to a healthy growth.

Interestingly, here I can see something that I do not observe in many other places – the amazing grace. You are studying the Bible, but you are more grace-oriented than oriented on the Law and formalism. Here, at UBTS, I can see the real freedom in Christ. Despite holding to the strong biblical convictions and certain boundaries, you maintain grace and true joy in Christ. I can see truly joyful students, a lot of laughter, but at the same time, there is a lot of depth in thinking and freedom to express opinions. This is very inspiring. It is right to be serious about our faith, and not too serious about ourselves.

– Thank you for sharing, Randy. What would you like to leave as a wish to our students?

I sincerely wish the younger generation to be teachable, and I wish the mature Christians to leave behind the worthy followers of Christ. That is even the reason of why I do what I do. I believe that the future of this country is in the hands of young leaders. I sincerely believe that this seminary will change the lives of thousands of people, unless Christ comes first. There are places in the world where the Spirit of God moves very fast. I see that here is one of such places. Your growth is very impressive. Your team spares no effort, but does a phenomenal job. I consider it a great honor to be here, to invest myself into the younger generation of Christians and to experience the grace together.