Wednesday, November 10, 2010

prayer for ordinands

May you have the courage and discernment to name yourself,
and those you serve,
both truly
and uniquely.

My prayer for those from Uniting College today who received candles as a symbol of transition from phase 2 (intentional training through formal and in placement mechanisms) to Phase 3 (first full-time ministry placement).

Posted by steve at 07:05 PM

Thursday, April 29, 2010

call stories

In the Scriptures there are some lovely call stories – Jesus calling disciples to follow. Each call unique, each person valued.

One of the things I’m loving about my new role here at Uniting College is a greater relationship with students. I was simply too busy at Laidlaw to have this privilege. So over the last few weeks it has been neat to ask students how God called them and listen to the work of God. God is still calling disciples to follow. Today, as well as back in the day!

What is striking is how unique each call is. No one size fits all. Just as in the Gospels, just as in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, different parts of the body have different shape.

This has some quite profound implications for theological formation.

First, training must start with listening to this call. There’s a profound humility in the fact that we are only responding to what God is breathing into life.

Second, training can no longer be one size fits all. It must be flexible enough to build on the unique sense of call and the unique shape of the body parts.

Third, training needs to be life-long. A call is not sustained by 3 years of study, but a life of ongoing formation, of new learning, of reflection and reading.

Fourth, God is not just calling people to be church ministers. Imagine a church in which all call stories were valued? In which a lawyer could be heard, and shaped, for lawyer ministry, just as a pioneer leader or a school chaplain.

Uniting College is working really hard to assemble a range of paths and patterns by which training can happen – training that starts with call, that values uniqueness, that looks lifelong, that is for the whole people of God.

It’s like lego, trying to put together a range of building blocks, so that we can serve God’s call stories.

Posted by steve at 09:31 PM