New Calls to Ministry
I am routinely amazed by the people God calls to ministry. Whether it is long-serving elders I meet as I sit with Sessions or Pastor Nominating Committees or pastors as they are installed into calls in Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery, it is a blessing to see the way that the Holy Spirit has worked to equip and call individuals to service in the church. Some of those responding to the call to ministry here have lived in our communities for years, maybe even been a member of the church for their whole life. Many others came to faith and service in the church later in life or after a career in another industry. Still others have joined us from Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, Michigan, and other corners of the country. Ministers, Christian Educators, elders, deacons, and so many others living out their calls to ministry in Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery.
In this time after Easter, it is fitting to dwell on the call to ministry. The resurrection and accession thrust the early disciples into ministry in a different way than before. They have responded to Jesus’ initial call to them, but now they must live that call out in new ways. The infant church grows. The ministry expands. The call to service increases. The need for individuals to respond to the call to ministry continues. Acts 5:27-32 from last Sunday’s lectionary gives us a glimpse into that work: “When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, saying, "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man's blood on us." But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him."
I am confident that God is lifting up new leaders in these days after Easter, as well. I have seen it in the new inquirers for ministry that the Committee on Preparation for Ministry has been meeting with over the last months. I have heard it in the voices of those who call or come into the presbytery office and want to know more about becoming a Commissioned Pastor. I have witnessed it as I have met with church committees and encountered new elders, deacons, and committee members who are just now responding to the work of the Holy Spirit in service.
Perhaps the most crucial and life-changing question you can ask a member of your church, a friend, or yourself today is, “Is God calling me to new avenues of ministry?” and the follow-up question, “Where?”
Rev. Tim Blodgett