Books Related to General Call/Discernment/Vocation

  • Bass, Dorothy C. & Mark R. Schwehn, eds. Leading Lives That Matter: What We Should Do and Who We Should Be. Grand Rapids, MI Eerdmans.
  • Campbell, Dennis M. The Yoke of Obedience: The Meaning of Ordination in Methodism. Nashville: Abingdon
  • Clapper, Greg. Living Your Hearts Desire: God’s Call and Your Vocation. Nashville: Upper Room
  • Holderness, Ginny Ward. Career and Calling: A Guide for Counselors, Youth and Young Adults. Louisville, KY: Geneva Press
  • Leider, Richard. The Power of Purpose: Creating Meaning in Your Life and Work. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler
  • Mahan, Brian. Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose: Vocation and the Ethics of Ambition. San Francisco: Josey-Bass
  • Neafsey, John. A Sacred Voice is Calling: Personal Vocation and Social Conscience. New York: Orbis
  • Palmer, Parker J. Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Parks, Sharon Daloz. Big Questions, Worthy Dreams: Mentoring Young Adult in Their Search for Meaning, Purpose and Faith. San Francisco: Josey-Bass.
  • Placher, William C., ed. Callings: Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom on Vocation. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans
  • Smith, Christian. Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Svennungsen, Ann & Melissa Wiginton, eds. Awakened to a Calling: Reflections on the Vocation of Ministry. Nashville: Abingdon

Books Related to United Methodism and Clergy Roles

  • The General Board of Higher Education, Board of Higher Education & Ministry. The Christian as Minister
  • Berry, Jo. Making Your Life a Ministry. Zondervan
  • Cetuk, Virginia Samuel. What to Expect in Seminary: Theological Education as Spiritual Formation. Nashville: Abingdon
  • Cullinan, Alice R. Sorting It Out: Discerning God’s Call to Ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press
  • Guiness, Os. The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life. Nashville: Word Publishing.
  • Hamilton, Adam. Leading Beyond the Walls: Developing Congregations with a Heart for the Unchurched. Abingdon Press
  • Hoge, Dean R. & Jacqueline E. Wenger. Pastors in Transition: Why Clergy Leave Local Church Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans
  • Hybels, Bill. Character: Who You are When No One’s Looking. InterVarsity Press
  • Maxwell, John C. Developing the Leader Within You. Thomas Nelson
  • Pagitt, Doug and the Solomon’s Porch Community. Reimagining Spiritual Formation: A Week in the Life of an Experimental Church, Zondervan
  • Parker, Ronald E. Do I Belong in Seminary? The Alban Institute, Inc.
  • Yaconelli, Michael. Messy Spirituality. Zondervan

General Board of Higher Education & Ministry Division of Ordained Ministry:

For Congregations Encouraging the Culture of the Call

Opportunities to encourage persons to consider ordained ministry are constant. We do not need to “create” moments. Still, as local churches and individuals, we could always be more alert to God and to opportunities and moments of contact with persons who might be exploring a call.
We should always be mindful of ways in which we can encourage persons to respond to a call to ministry. Therefore, the Culture of Call Committee (CCC) of the Missouri Conference invites churches that are developing such a culture to share their ideas for the benefit of the conference with the CCC.

Submit Ideas to Call Culture Committee:
Rev. Mark Statler
3601 Amron Court
Columbia, MO 65202

Things You Can Do to Encourage the Culture of the Call

  1. Be knowledgeable of the process of candidacy and other ministry opportunities.
  2. Spotlight persons who were a part of your church who are now in seminary or are ordained ministers. (List in bulletins, etc.) Use this as an opportunity to show congregations their responsibility in the culture of the call throughout the life of a congregation.
  3. Share names of persons who are in the provisional stage toward ordination in your conference. Invite members to attend the ordination service of annual conference. (Some persons may never have even considered there is a process beyond seminary.)
  4. Have leaders publicly tell stories of their call to ministry. (You may do this as a part of “Call Service” or otherwise.)
  5. Use biblical call stories as a part of your Scripture reading occasionally. Would it be helpful to do a Bible Study on call stories?
  6. How might your church support current seminary students in your church or among the conference?
  7. Does your church have scholarships for persons in college or seminary in the candidacy process for ordained ministry? Are you willing to invest in future pastors?
  8. Contribute to the Ministerial Education Fund by paying 100% of that apportionment. Educate the congregation on how this contributes to the connectional Church.
  9. Encourage candidates for ministry (of all ages) to participate in leadership roles. Consider leadership opportunities that empower and display gifts of potential candidates for ministry. When a person exhibits particular gifts for ministry, how do you address them? Do not be afraid to address possibilities. You need not worry that you are pressuring them. (Perhaps you will be the first to plant a seed. Or you may be one of the needed encouragers along the way.) It is up to the individuals and God to work out the details, but mentors and affirmation are needed along the way too.
  10. Promote the Missouri Conference Exploration (“MO Explo”) and national Exploration events.
  11. Arrange visits for your young people to the Missouri Conference Office, campus ministry setting, or other United Methodist agencies or community centers.
  12. Encourage those who work with children and youth in your church to purposely engage young persons to consider call stories. At summer camps, mission trips, retreats, confirmation, etc., how might you give opportunities for persons to respond to a life of Christian service? Example: There is a pastor who makes point once a year to sit with the confirmation class and ask about characteristics of a good pastor. As they list those, the pastor asks, “Is it possible that any of you have felt a call from God to become a pastor?”