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The Calling Journey

188 pages
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Leaders often arrive at a stage in life where inevitable questions arise: Why is this happening to me? Where is my life going? And, how can this ever fit with what God called me to? In The Calling Journey, Tony Stoltzfus addresses these questions with a model of the process of stages and transitions God moves us through on the road to our calling. And this is vital information for the coach: Tony shows how coaching life purpose looks radically different depending on the season of life the coachee is in.

The book begins with the unveiling of a universal timeline that maps the common stages and transitions leaders experience on the calling journey. As you read the in-depth examples from the lives of biblical characters and contemporary leaders, you'll soon see how these concepts apply to your life, and even create your own personalized map of the journey - your Calling Timeline. Once you've identified the stage you are in, the many stories about leaders from all walks of life will show you how to meet God where you are at and what your future holds. Comparing your story with others offers amazing insight into the different events God leverages to develop you into the leader you are called to be.

The focus of the book is not just on life stages, but what God is doing in each stage to prepare you for your call. You'll learn what God's growth agenda is for each stage, common pitfalls and temptations, and how to lean into what God is doing in you even when it seems counter-intuitive. The timeline model explains four main developmental stages and three transitional "valleys":

  • Natural Promotion
  • The Valley of Dependence
  • The Preparation Stage
  • The Valley of Wholeness
  • The Releasing Stage
  • The Valley of Identity
  • The Fulfillment Stage

As you digest each of these themes, you'll discover how God makes every circumstance in your life "work together for good" to bring you to your destiny. In the process, the author shows how to identify the "Life Messages" that form the heart of your call, offers an innovative paradigm for understanding call in being terms, and adds a section on coaching others on the journey.

More info on the timeline as well as a free timeline builder can be found at or read the intro to the calling timeline.

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Table of Contents

Section 1: Creating Your Timeline
Chapter 1: Joseph's Calling Journey
Chapter 2: Reading the Calling Map
Chapter 3: The Story of Mother Teresa
Chapter 4: Mapping Your Journey

Section II: Understanding Your Timeline
Chapter 5: Natural Promotion
Chapter 6: The Valley of Dependence
Chapter 7: The Preparation Stage
Chapter 8: The Valley of Wholeness
Chapter 9: The Day of Release
Chapter 10: Finding Life Messages
Chapter 11: The Releasing Stage
Chapter 12: The Valley of Identity
Chapter 13: The Fulfillment Stage
Chapter 14: Coaching the Journey

Section III: Appendices
Appendix A: Glossary
Appendix B: Stage Characteristics Cheat Sheet
Appendix C: Calling Resources

About the Author

As a pioneer in the Christian coaching field, Tony Stoltzfus has trained thousands of coaches, founded the encounter coaching movement and created a wide range of coaching books, training aids and coaching courses used around the world. He specializes in helping senior leaders navigate difficult transitions and finish well in the calling journey.

Reader Feedback

"You rocked my world - and nailed my middle age. This addresses the culmination of my journey - stepping up and risking my future on God's identity. [I must] give up my illusion of myself as still having enough game to run with the entrepreneurial crowd and risk who I am on God working through me as a coach/chair for Convene. I cannot find any convenient mental myths that allow me to dismiss the reality of taking the risk to do what God has called me to do. Thank you, friend!!"

- Steve Tucker, Convene Chair

"I cried the first time I saw my life onThe Calling Journey timeline. The visual made it undeniable that God has orchestrated seasons and experiences to shape my life for others. It put events and seasons of life in perspective. What I'd thought was senseless suffering and failure was actually His way of making me the man I was born to be so that I could do the task I was born to do. Thank you!"

- Jeff Williams, Grace and Truth Relationship Education

"[The Calling Journey] gave me incredible insights into my life which allowed me to understand more of who God is and how He works. Thank you, Tony."

- Lisa Schultz, Office of the Senate Chaplain

"[The timeline] has brought great encouragement to me that nothing is wasted in God's economy... It has inspired a new sense of hope to see the mighty hand of my loving heavenly Father through it all . . . I am thankful to Kathy and Tony for being there during a deep valley where nothing made sense. We came back out with a much different view and were even thankful for it all! I look forward to the next peak, and I'm not afraid of the journey it will take to get there."

- Amy Heilman

"The timeline that Tony presents is amazing. It helped me to understand so many things and make sense of why the Lord takes us through the things He does."

--Raeann Fitz, Certified Life Coach

"The Calling Journey timeline is a fantastic visual tool to use with people in helping them understand the season they are in. Tony makes it so easy for people to grasp where they are on their calling journey and thus respond in the best way possible."

- Janine Mason, Dreamvesting

"As one who has often struggled to make sense of the many twists and turns of my life, The Calling Journey helped me to see these events from the larger vantage point of God's purposes... one of the greatest truths that emerges is that, through all the ups and downs of our life, God's primary focus is on the shaping of who we are in preparation for what he has called us to do."

- David Smith, Businessman