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Pre-Ministry: Discerning Your Calling

The sense of being called by God into a career of Christian ministry is both exciting and daunting.  Moreover, the calling or vocation of serving God and the church through professional ministry often does not appear in one’s life with overwhelming clarity that puts all questions to rest. The route through such questions involves prayer and introspection, of course, but also should include conversation in community—with family members, pastors, fellow church-members, friends, professors. If you are hoping to become an ordained pastor in a particular denomination, it is wise to learn early on about the process and ordination requirements of that denomination (check their website or talk to a pastor), as well as to talk with the appropriate people in that denomination about your hopes and goals. As part of the communal dimension of the process of wrestling with a call to ministry, Calvin’s pre-ministry advising team is eager to enter into conversation with you as you ask the variety of questions involved in the call to ministry.

Do you ever wonder what former Calvin students have come to think about their call to the ministry? Susan Sytsma Bratt has interviewed numerous recent Calvin grads that have gone on to seminary or active ministry. Read her insightful reflections on the Jubilee Fellows page.

For an example of some of the “discerning a calling” resources offered by various church denominations, see the sidebar at the right. Don’t forget to look for resources offered by your own denomination and the seminaries you may be thinking about as possibilities for your post-Calvin education. If you’d like help finding further resources, don’t hesitate to talk to a member of the pre-ministry advising team.

Church resources

Candidacy Committee (Christian Reformed Church)

Discerning Your Call (Calvin Theological Seminary)

Call Waiting (Reformed Church in America)

PCUSA (Presbyterian Church USA)

Ask the Question (United Church of Christ)

Vocation and Education (Evangelical Lutheran Church)

Explore Calling (United Methodist Board of Higher Education)