For Congregations Encouraging the Culture of the Call
Opportunities to encourage persons to consider ordained ministry are constant. We do not need to “create” moments. Still, as local churches and individuals, we could always be more alert to God and to opportunities and moments of contact with persons who might be exploring a call.
- Be knowledgeable of the process of candidacy and other ministry opportunities.
- Spotlight persons who were a part of your church who are now in seminary or are ordained ministers. (List in bulletins, etc.) Use this as an opportunity to show congregations their responsibility in the culture of the call throughout the life of a congregation.
- Share names of persons who are in the provisional stage toward ordination in your conference. Invite members to attend the ordination service of annual conference. (Some persons may never have even considered there is a process beyond seminary.)
- Have leaders publicly tell stories of their call to ministry. (You may do this as a part of “Call Service” or otherwise.)
- Use biblical call stories as a part of your Scripture reading occasionally. Would it be helpful to do a Bible Study on call stories?
- How might your church support current seminary students in your church or among the conference?
- Does your church have scholarships for persons in college or seminary in the candidacy process for ordained ministry? Are you willing to invest in future pastors?
- Contribute to the Ministerial Education Fund by paying 100% of that apportionment. Educate the congregation on how this contributes to the connectional Church.
- Encourage candidates for ministry (of all ages) to participate in leadership roles. Consider leadership opportunities that empower and display gifts of potential candidates for ministry. When a person exhibits particular gifts for ministry, how do you address them? Do not be afraid to address possibilities. You need not worry that you are pressuring them. (Perhaps you will be the first to plant a seed. Or you may be one of the needed encouragers along the way.) It is up to the individuals and God to work out the details, but mentors and affirmation are needed along the way too.
- Promote the Missouri Conference Exploration (MO Explo) and national Exploration events.
- Arrange visits for your young people to the Missouri Conference Office, campus ministry setting, or other United Methodist agencies or community centers.
- Encourage those who work with children and youth in your church to purposely engage young persons to consider call stories. At summer camps, mission trips, retreats, confirmation, etc., how might you give opportunities for persons to respond to a life of Christian service? Example: There is a pastor who makes point once a year to sit with the confirmation class and ask about characteristics of a good pastor. As they list those, the pastor asks, “Is it possible that any of you have felt a call from God to become a pastor?”
We should always be mindful of ways in which we can encourage persons to respond to a call to ministry. Therefore, the Culture of Call Committee of the Missouri Conference invites churches that are developing such a culture to share their ideas for the benefit of the conference with the CCC.
Submit Ideas to Call Culture Committee:
Rev. Mark Statler
3601 Amron Court
Columbia, MO 65202