Beverly Donofrio had just been “looking for a monastery to join, for Christ’s sake.” She had closed her laptop, having bookmarked religious communities she might write to, then had fallen into a deep sleep. During the night she was raped at knife point in her home in Mexico.
I once saw children's ministry as a steppingstone to something else. This attitude put me in league with the hindering kind of disciples.
John Knapp tells the story of a businessperson short on cash, with a client who can't pay his bill. For Knapp, this case study highlights the great divide between work and faith.
"Jesus calls us to make disciples, not just converts," says Todd Friesen of Lombard Mennonite Church in Illinois. "I believe that discipleship begins in communal worship."
Seekers often want Christianity to be a set of ideas one knows to be true, or at least to provide a feeling of certainty.
One of our tradition's best ideas is that God calls us to become all we were created to be. One of its worst is that only clergy are called.
Once you finally get a job, then you need to get a “real” job. Then you can expect to be laid off at least once in your life. Then you have to retool and enter the workforce again. Then even if you get your “dream” job, you might come to the realization that you’re destroying your family and your personal life, and the dream becomes a bit of a nightmare. Then you begin to realign all your goals. Then you begin to look toward retirement, and you begin to imagine what your vocation is going to be when you retire.
Why, the customs officer wanted to know, was I traveling to Canada just to preach? It was a question to ponder.
"People need to hear the good news," says Katherine Willis Pershey of First Congregational Church in Western Springs, Illinois. "If the church doesn't take on this mission, I'm afraid—well, that's where that sentence can end. I'm afraid."
The language of vocation confirms that at no time in our lives are we exempt from responsibility for others. We never stop being called to share in the creative and redemptive activity of God through lives of discipleship.
He finished seminary at the head of his class and could have gone on to earn a Ph.D. But he wanted to serve a local congregation--preferably a small one.
I performed my ministry with a recurring doubt in my head: Am I truly intended and called for this work?