This post is the last of a six-part series on the points I made in my Superintendent's Address in June. These are six things I am passionate about in my role as Superintendent and these are six things I am hoping that clergy and laity in the Alaska Conference would take seriously.
To review, here are the first five with links to the first five posts:
Engage: We need to identify and engage our mission field.
Welcome: We need to cultivate a culture of genuine welcome.
Disciple: We need to live a culture of discipleship.
Risk: We need to allow a culture of experimentation and innovation to thrive.
Connect: We need to recover a culture of connection among us.
The last word is Call. We need to foster a culture of call in our churches. Our faith communities need to be spaces where calls from God are discerned, made certain and nurtured.
I was able to discern my call to ministry through the encouragement of folks in my home church. They fostered a safe space where I could ask questions and seek answers, where I was mentored and guided.
How are we creating a culture of call in our local churches and ministry settings? How are we encouraging and nurturing people who have a call or are discerning one? Is call an integral part of conversations in our churches, especially when it comes to volunteer opportunities and service? When we ask people to serve in different capacities, do we invite them to serve out of a sense of call?
Fellow clergy: Are we taking time to share our call stories? Is part of our ministry devoted to the encouragement and mentoring of those who are discerning their calls?
Leaders among the lay: Are you taking time to share your call stories of how you received the call to be a leader? Are you encouraging others who may have the gifts and graces, and most especially the call to serve in different lay leadership positions?
Moses prepared Joshua. Elijah encouraged Elisha. Paul mentored Timothy. How are we as church leaders today preparing and encouraging and mentoring those who are called to serve alongside us and those who are coming after us?
I pray that the Alaska Conference, in all its ministry settings (churches, camps, etc.), would be a sacred space where call is heard and nurtured.
your fellow disciple,
P.S. This will not be the last time you will hear of these six items. I will be bringing them with me as I go around for charge conferences. Also, there was energy among our clergy at our retreat a couple of weeks ago to do a sermon series about this during the first part of 2016.