A Presbyterian Leader blogpost by Marcia Clark Myers, Director Office of Vocation
Early in my ministry, I remember sitting in the national offices at 475 Riverside Drive in New York with a wise staff person who gave this advice about discerning a call, “Be open. Go and meet the people.” In my mind I knew where I should serve – somewhere in the urban northeast where I had family, friends, and felt comfortable.
Later when I was approached by a parish of small churches in the coalfields of southern West Virginia, I went (grumbling) to see the chair of the presbytery committee. I said, “Those churches are dying. The members are “the frozen chosen”. He said “You never know what God can do through you.”
I was wrong. Those churches grew – with newcomers and long time neighbors. I baptized more than a dozen folks into the faith (one in the river on a snowy Easter Sunday). My family grew too and my daughter and son were well loved by those congregations. I went on to serve another congregation and the presbytery before leaving West Virginia with regret, some 20 years after hearing “Be open. Go and meet the people.”
Such good counsel about life….”Be open. Go and meet the people.” How often in scriptures Jesus told his disciples to “go”. It is the primary manner of disciple-making. We go and meet God’s people where they are and we are changed. They are changed.
Many of our candidates for ministry are finishing up the last requirements before seeking a call. These are anxious times for them, wondering “Will there be a place for me?” Now I am the one to say to them “Be open. Go and meet the people.” There is no better way to learn about faith, than to follow God’s call to “go to a land I will show you.” Want to learn about leadership, change management, spiritual development, cultural proficiency? Be open to the possibilities!
Of course I will take this opportunity to promote a possibility for first call pastors. The For Such a Time as This small church pastoral residency program is now accepting applications for the Class of 2013. All Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) candidates who will be certified ready to receive a call by summer 2013 are eligible to apply. For more information, visit the website.
For those who are not pastors, what are the opportunities God is offering for you? Where are your growing edges? Where do you hear whispers “Be open. Go and meet the people?”