How Might God be Calling You to Mission & Service?
If you’re a young person, you’ve probably heard parents, grandparents, friends, and other family members tell you to “just be yourself.” You might hear it before a tryout for a new team or the school musical. Likely, it was said the whole time growing up as you began making friends. What do you do if you don’t know who you are just yet, though?
It takes a certain amount of courage to admit you’re still figuring that out, and honestly, it’s a question to which even adults circle back and upon which they constantly reflect. God’s answer to us as we figure ourselves out is pretty bold: “You are a member of the family. You are loved. You are called to something incredible.” As United Methodists, we take this answer to heart.
We firmly believe that God has been working in and through us our entire lives – John Wesley called this “prevenient grace,” and it’s something you should talk to your pastor or youth director about! Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, God is working to help us seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with the Lord as we are drawn deeper and deeper into love. In our baptisms and journeys of discipleship, we recognize and commit to loving God and our neighbors as we love ourselves. When we take our baptismal vows (or reaffirm them), we are committed to being present, offering up our skills and talents, and being witnesses for love and service everywhere we are.
Words make it sound simple, but it isn’t in practice. A lot of effort and intentionality goes into putting ourselves out there to be moved wherever the Spirit nudges us. Often, that nudge requires moving into uncomfortable spaces and potentially giving up things to which we cling. Accepting our call to love and service brings a learning curve for everyone. In the church, we call this learning process “leadership development.”
Our denomination, The United Methodist Church (UMC), is highly committed to developing strong leaders of all ages that will follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and help build a church that has a stronger witness to love, mercy and justice both now and in the future. United Methodists believe that “Christian ministry is the expression of the mind and mission of Christ by a community of Christians that demonstrates a common life of gratitude and devotion, witness and service, celebration and discipleship” (Book of Discipline, ¶ 126). As such, The UMC provides many paths for those who want to live into Christ’s call to go and make disciples of all nations, whether that is as a clergy person or not. Trying to figure out what we are called to do takes time and thought. Yet, it is some of the most sacred work we can do as we discover the purposes for which God created us.
Whether a personal call within your heart and soul, a role you have within your community or a position within The United Methodist Church, you have a calling and that calling has a place somewhere where you can experience incredible love, grace, hope and peace.
If you’re unsure of where God is calling you or simply want to learn more about how you can serve through The UMC, join United Methodist Communications for our workshop, “Using Your Gifts to Generate Good!” Sessions are Wednesday at 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in room 202B and Thursday at 10:00 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. in room 102C. Our time will be spent in prayer, scripture, and discussion as we use some great tools to identify our spiritual gifts and hear from those currently serving as laity, clergy, and missionaries. We’ll explore ways to identify the places where brokenness, sadness, and pain exist in your community and how God can work through you to bring hope and healing.
The United Methodist tradition is rooted in Scripture and a belief that we are saved by abundant grace through faith. We each have a role in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Together, we can learn how to #BeUMC in the best ways we know how and continue living into the beautiful purposes God has given us. Can’t wait to see you in Daytona Beach!