The local church is a seedbed for calling. From teaching a Bible study, to serving on a mission trip, to offering the bread and cup during Sunday worship, the local church provides countless ways through which God might speak a word of calling into ordained ministry.
If your congregation seeks to be more intentional about creating spaces and opportunities whereby individuals might hear and respond to God’s call, check out the suggestions listed below.
- Consider scheduling a “Calling Sunday” each year. On this day, focus your attention on Christian vocation, and how God calls us into service. Pastors, share your own call story within the worship service and invite others serving in full-time Christian vocations to do the same. Invite those who might be discerning a call to talk with you about how God is speaking to them. Find resources here.
- Be intentional about drawing lay people into your weekly worship services. Encourage lay people to read scripture, offer a children’s message, or serve communion. Many individuals have experienced a call to ministry while serving as worship leaders.
- Order several copies of the book The Christian as Minister, a book written for ministry candidates, and have them available to those who are discerning a call.
- Find out if your church has any students currently in seminary or navigating the ordination process (contact your District office or the Office of Ministerial Relations). Add their names to your ongoing prayer list, send them letters of encouragement, or provide a Cokesbury gift certificate to help with textbook purchases. Simply letting these individuals know that their home congregation loves and prays for them is a tremendous gift.
- Read this article on how other UM churches are cultivating the call.
- Visit The Fund for Theological Education’s page on Calling Congregations for more ideas.