Friday, November 12, 2010

Call or Calls?

I spent the past three days interviewing candidates for the ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. My task was to discern and confirm a person's call to ministry. It was an interesting, and tiring, process.

About 2/3 of the 15 candidates we interviewed were beginning their second or even third careers. Having more than one career in today's rapidly changing work environment is very common. I've read that those in college now will have and average of 3 different careers and 9 different jobs.

When we're at the beginning of the work phase of our lives, we often struggle with the question: What am I called to do? This vocational question is important to answer if we are to thrive in life. However, it might be more appropriate to speak of calls rather than a single call.

The pattern I've often seen in candidates for ordained ministry is that they heard a call to ministry early in life, but ignored it or delayed responding to it. Then, in midlife, the call to ministry comes again and it is answered.

I like the idea that we have more than one call in life to respond to. As we grow and change, so can our understanding of what we are called to do and to be. The key is to listen-- to our deepest self, to the voices of others and to the voice of God.

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