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The Vital Connection episode ten: Supporting the call to ministry

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Pastor Sharla McCaskell (right) participates in the Celebration of Life in Ministry Service.

In this episode of The Vital Connection, Pastors Doug Diehl, retired clergy, and Sharla McCaskell, Rapid City Knollwood Heights UMC, discuss their roles in building each other’s’ callings across their lives and ministry together at Rapid City First United Methodist Church. They discuss the power of discovering the callings and spiritual gifts of others in your congregation, and how pastors and laity are called to work side by side in ministry.

Questions explored by the two clergy are: How can pastors match “needs” in the congregation and community with the “gifts” of the laity? How does the process of entering into part-time ministry begin? What is the power of valuing and promoting the gifts and callings of the laity? How have they experienced God’s call, and what practices help them to recognize callings in others? How does a person know when they might be called to a transition in ministry? How does a mentor create safe space for the mentee to practice ministry? How do we keep ministry “titles” from acting as obstacles to God’s work?

Doug Diehl

Pastor Doug Diehl. File photo.

As a part of our Developing Missional Leaders strategic pathway, the Dakotas Conference has been working with individuals and churches to help create a culture of call in each congregation.  Here are a few ways:

1. Pray!  Make this a part of your regular prayer rhythm and focus.  During the Congregational Prayer, ask God to nudge people to that next step of spiritual leadership.  Pray that eyes and hearts would be open to the Spirit moving.  Pray that people would name those gifts they see in one another.

2. Plan a CALLED Sunday. Use passages such as 1 Samuel 3:1-10 or Exodus 3:1-12, songs like “Here I Am, Lord” or “Oceans”, and acts of worship such as altar calls or baptismal renewal to remind people that God is still calling us.  Check out this link for more resources.

3. Share scriptures and questions for reflection/discussion with church members, committees and small groups to give people language and opportunities to talk about hearing and responding to God’s call as well as helping others to do the same. Check out this link for examples.

4. Integrate the Culture of Call into your Children’s and Youth Ministry by asking who they see among their peers that might be called to be a pastor or spiritual leader.  Curriculum samples can be found at this link for children's ministry and at this link for youth ministry can also help facilitate those conversations.  Camps and retreats are other great times for them to step outside their routine, so they can hear God’s voice.

5. Invite people to share their “God stories” of hearing and responding to a “nudge” from the Spirit to step out in faith. Show one of these inspiring video resources during worship or as a conversation starter in a small group setting or meeting to give people an example. 

6. As name(s) are lifted up in your midst, bring them to Annual Conference 2018 as part of our CALLED: One Word, Many Ways Miracle Offering so we can provide prayers and support in helping churches and individuals embrace this Culture of Call across the Dakotas!

For more information on resources and events check out this link or contact the Office of Leadership Development by e-mail or phone 605-990-7796.