Bishop Ward and Laura Fine Ledford discuss programs offered by the conference to help persons discern a call to ministry.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
As an annual conference, we continue to pray for leaders to hear God’s beckoning, God’s call, and Laura Fine Ledford is our staff person who works particularly with the call to ministry, helping us hear the ways God is calling and responding. Laura, if any of us discerns a call to ministry, a whisper of God in our heart or ear, what should we do?
LAURA: It’s interesting. Some people say the first thing you should do is look for anything else to do, which I don’t necessarily ascribe to that. I think it is always wonderful when God calls, if you can give oxygen to that calling, put it out into the world, talk about it with people that you trust, and try to put a language around what it feels like God is doing. And if you begin to sense that you are ready to start the candidacy process, we encourage people to talk to their pastor at their home church, to read the book, “The Christian as Minister” and then to write a call statement and send it to our office.
BISHOP: What are some of the ways like Taste and See program that you, through your office, offer?
LAURA: Well the great thing about Taste and See is that we invite college students to participate in this program, even if they have a curiosity for ministry and don’t necessarily have the whole process figured out. So we invite them in for a ten-week opportunity to serve in a local church with a wonderful mentoring pastor, and they get to do everything that a pastor gets to do. So they are preaching and teaching and visiting; they’re sitting in on finance meetings, they’re serving in mission and they really get to see if that calling feels right in their bones. And if it does, we can help them to move forward in the process from there.
BISHOP: We are one of a few annual conferences, only five or six, who have a staff person devoted to this call and particularly engaging young people in discerning the call to ministry.
LAURA: We are and we’re incredibly fortunate to be able to do that in North Carolina and I love this work. I love seeing this next generation of people who are so gifted that they could do anything. They could do anything and they want to spend their lives in service to the Kingdom of God. They are wonderful and talented and passionate and have these amazing ideas for what God is doing in the world and how they want to join with God. So it’s just fun to be able to sit back and watch that happen.
BISHOP: We thank you for your partnership in inviting persons of all ages to continually listen for the voice of God. As God calls, may we answer with faithfulness, energy, and joy.