As a follow-up to last Sunday’s sharing of the ways in which we have felt “known” by God, this week we want to share with you our individual calls to the ordained ministry. We are in covenant with more than 61,000 United Methodist clergy worldwide, serving over 46,000 churches. We serve as pastors to almost 12 million believers. (Click here for more UMC statistics
The “call” of God in our Judeo-Christian tradition goes all the way back to Abraham, and is a consistent theme with other leaders, such as Moses and Aaron, King David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the prophets. But look closely in the Old Testament and you will find many other persons, young, old, female, male, just like all of us—ordinary folks—who were unexpectedly called by God and then equipped by the Holy Spirit to do eternal work in a temporal setting.
In the New Testament, Jesus, the Son of God, called many persons to follow him. Many responded, but many did not. (See Mark 10:17-27
) All of us who serve as clergy had to wrestle with the voice in our heads that said, “Who are YOU to think you are being called as a pastor in the church?” None of us ever considers ourselves to be a match for the perception of pastor we hold in our minds. Consequently we all must spend much time in prayer and discernment, as do those in the church who validate our call to ministry in The United Methodist Church. While many of our lay sisters and brothers in the churches we serve assume our calls to ordained ministry set us apart as somehow special in God’s eyes, we all know that what we actually feel is that God has to spend a lot of extra time getting us to say “yes” to a call and then empower us to live into it.
So join us on Sunday as we share how we were called, what we are doing with our call, and how God continues to shape our future as faithful disciples in ministry. And oh, by the way, you are being called as well. Maybe not to ordained ministry, but to a discipleship commitment that is every bit, and most likely even more world transforming than ours!