“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.” ― Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak
Discerning your vocation, your calling in ministry, is an essential spiritual practice for all Christians. Too often this practice is reserved for those considering ordained ministry, but let’s face it—the vast majority of ministers of the Gospel are not clergy. Following are a few resources gathered for an introduction to discernment held Oct. 3, 2020, that continue to be relevant to all those seeking to seek and serve Christ in the world.
According to retreat leader Dr. Kathy Staudt, a good image for the act of discernment "is that experience that most of us have had of being in a totally dark place and then finding that your eyes gradually get used to the light and you can start to see... ." Discernment is a process, not a moment, and for most of us, it is a mysterious process. There are tools and practices that can help.
For an introduction to the concept of discernment, particularly to the process of discerning one’s calling in lay ministry, watch this video.
Vocation comes from the Latin vocare, meaning “to call.” Everyone, lay and ordained, is called “to be a part of the holy work of loving, healing and reconciliation,” according to Dr. Kathy Staudt. That calling, she says, “is not always about how you make your living. It is about how you live into your best and fullest self."
Watch this video for more on the notion of vocation, particularly as it relates to lay ministry.
For further reading and reflection on discernment practices, vocation, mission and ministry, see these resources.