Calling…

Dear all my lovely minister/pastor/vicar/ordinand type friends, followers and all.  I was wondering if you might be able to do me an enormous favour.

Could you please explain/express/outline/describe your ‘calling’ to ministry.  I’m not after a life story (unless you’re inclined and it’s relevant!), just a sort of general idea of what brought you into ministry and specifically any ‘call’ you sense(d).  Was it gradual dawning, urgent sense, nagging discomfort?  Did you think you should do it, or think you could do it?

I’d be most grateful if you could just jot something down in the comments section 🙂

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11 Responses to Calling…

  1. nickparish says:

    And how long did it take you to notice? 🙂

  2. Miranda says:

    Initial moment of call was literally hearing a voice call me to do this! When I thought dont be daft, I couldnt do that, i then realised that in ‘skills’ terms, it wasnt that daft after all. But rejected it as an idea and tried to ignore it. But after a year or two of doing that, it was eating away at me, and I felt impelled to explore it further- very reluctantly at first!

  3. Jules says:

    Other people saying. Became a Christian in a free church context but felt from the beginning that giving my life to God meant some kind of full-time church work calling. Only as an anglican made the connection that it might mean vicar. Have always ‘ended up’ in leadership. Finally a brilliant vicar who mentored me and gave me confidence to go forward to a BAP. And Steven Croft’s book

  4. Jules says:

    Sorry… How long? First person suggested age 11 (wasn’t a Christian). Said no a lot til 23ish. Procrastinated. Ordained 27

  5. Tony Dickinson says:

    Various nudges (largely ignored) until the hefty shove of my father’s sudden death coupled with the realisation that I’d painted myself into a corner from which the only escaoe was through a door marked “ordained ministry”.

  6. Pam Smith says:

    Very shortly after starting to go to church in my 30s, the thought came into my head ‘You should be up there doing that’ when I was looking at the vicar leading a service. I dismissed the idea without thinking about it seriously because I’d been a Christian for such a short time, but it stayed with me and got stronger. I was on a Diocesan conference where I found myself standing next to the DDO in a queue for lunch and said ‘I think I might be called to ordination’. That set me on the process of going to an exploration day and seeing vocational advisers.

    Sadly this ended when after two and a half years the DDO wrote and said he would not send me to a conference and I should talk to my vicar about what else to do. This resulted in me training for Reader ministry. The sense of being called to ordination never went away but the ‘No’ had been so definite there seemed no point going back. I felt so hurt and rejected by what had happened that I decided I would not go back into the discernment process unless all the people involved in that ‘No’ had moved on.

    Being a Reader led to me being asked to participate in the chaplaincy at the young offenders’ institution where I was teaching, and the Chaplain encouraged me to go back into the process with the observation ‘It’s not normal to think about priesthood as much as you do, you need to sort it out!’

    It still wasn’t a completely smooth path but I eventually did get sent to a selection conference and recommended for training.

    Although the process was pretty slow for me – I think it was 12 years from when I first asked about ordination to when I was deaconed – this isn’t the slowest I’ve heard of.

  7. Philip says:

    Felt “something” for a long time. Then former Vocations Advisor came to preach one Sunday and I felt he was looking at me for the entire sermon, which was about following one’s calling. Came clean with my wife that evening, who basically said “I wondered when you’d notice!” Wonderful experience with Vocations Advisor and DDO, and felt pretty calm for BAP.
    Whole process a bit like a nagging itch that just would not go away. Now in first year as an SSM (still work full time as a teacher) and absolutely loving it!

  8. David says:

    I’m not an ordinand yet. Just recently started the ‘official’ discernment process.

    I came from a free church / baptist background. To cut a very long story short, a combination of imagery in dreams and hearing a voice in my head during a friend’s ordination service led me to believe that I might be being called to ordination in the CofE. It took another couple of years for me to
    deal with my preexisting theological and ecclesiological objections enough to move to an Anglican Church. Then another couple of years of regularly talking to my vicar about it before he contacted the DDO.

    The process continues…

  9. andiibowsher says:

    First a conviction that my future was supposed to be Anglican. Then became aware, again by a sense of deep conviction, that I should be involved in preaching and having accepted that began to sense also that presiding at communion was meant to be part of what I was to do. At first I felt drawn to self-supporting ministry as I valued faith being expressed in the everyday and the sense that ministry is the work of the whole people of God. However, part of my journey of vocation was into understanding that some people may be called to encouraging and resourcing the ‘in-world’ primary ministry of God’s people. I think now that these two strands converge in my work as a chaplain in a HE context. In terms of what the calling was/is, I’d have to say the most clear part of it has been a conviction somewhere close to the heart of my sense of identity and of what make sense of my gifts, leanings and convictions. Of course, this was partly a dialogical process of testing out my growing sense of awareness with the perceptions of others and giving it all time to settle (or potentially to fade).

  10. nickparish says:

    Dear all,
    Thank you so much for all your responses. It’s very kind of you to take the time, and very, uh, useful 🙂
    I’m glad to hear that there seem to be a host of journeys to ordination. I certainly haven’t experienced any voices (well, not any that can be heard over the constant ‘eat more cake’ that drones on in my tiny mind). But maybe a nagging sense, an itch, call it what you will…
    But I don’t know if the itch is quite so precise as ‘get ordained’, because it might just be ‘get serving’. Or it might just be ‘get Sudocrem’.

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