An introduction to the process of exploring and testing out a sense of vocation to authorised ministry
Ethos and theological rationale
Vocation is the call and work of God in our lives.
In words of creation, God calls the Universe into being.
In words of love, God calls a people to be his own.
In words of forgiveness, God calls us back time and time again.
In Christ the Incarnate Word, God calls us to make our peace, our home with him.
Strangely too, God calls to jolt us from complacency, comfort, pain or boredom and teases us into life and vitality.
It is God's nature to call, ours to respond, engage, question, struggle with and welcome this Godly activity, this Vocation in our lives.
God calls in many ways and to many different tasks, but being frail humans we can turn a deaf ear, misunderstand, get carried away with urgency or enthusiasm or simply become muddled.
It's important, therefore, that we share with others what we sense God is nudging us, pushing us or persuading us into and that we don't try and make sense of it alone.
We are encouraged in the Scriptures not only to listen to and for God's Call, but also to test it out within the church, in our everyday lives, in the company of others.
We may perceive a personal sense of calling, but the truth of it always has to be discerned corporately.
This is an exhilarating, but also a humbling experience. It requires that we make an 'inner' journey of discovery as well as an 'outer' journey through the selection process. This has consequences:
It may be hard to see ourselves as others see us; it may be hard to recognise and own up to aspects of ourselves, which we don't like or feel that we need to hide; it may sometimes be hard to accept our good points and our real strengths.
Discerning what new thing God is calling us to means that we have to be prepared to let go of illusions and old securities. For some it can be a very uncomfortable time indeed:
'One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.'
An introduction to the process of exploring and testing out a sense of vocation to authorised ministry: