Sunday, May 22nd, is "Call Sunday" – a Sunday for all of us (lay and clergy alike) to remember our call from God to become disciples, leaders, and ministers of the Gospel. In our Protestant tradition, we believe in the "priesthood of all believers" and that by our baptism we are all called by God to various forms of ministry. Those who are called to ordained ministry are "set aside" for particular forms of ministry, but all of us are called by God.
So, it is our hope that on Sunday, May 22nd, our clergy will share something of their own call stories, but that they will also encourage everyone to remember their call from God.
I recently had my first experience with a podcast which included remembering my own call. Rev. Brad Miller of our Indiana Conference produces these podcasts, and so he interviewed me about my time as a bishop, my upcoming retirement, but most especially about my own call to ministry. You can find the links to these podcasts at the following locations:
Hoosier United Methodist Podcast
The United Methodist Podcast
I have now told you more than I really know about podcasts, so if you have additional questions, be sure to contact Rev. Brad Miller directly.
But here is what I do know: I know that we need places where we can experience God's call in our lives. That includes our local churches, of course, but we also need special places set aside to experience Christian community, to have fun together, and to be open to God's call in our lives. For me, that call happened at Epworth Forest, one of our seven United Methodist camp and retreat centers here in Indiana. That experience was so important that me that when I was asked about a "legacy project" to celebrate my years of ministry as your bishop, I quickly proposed that we make the new "Building Discipleship Centers" Campaign that project. The BDC will help us to upgrade and improve our facilities at Epworth Forest and Indicoso, and it will also help us to build an endowed Scholarship Fund to enable even more children, youth, and adults to attend events at those centers – in order to have more and more people discover God's call in their lives.
But wherever it happens – on a retreat, in a worship service in your local church, while reading and praying, on an Emmaus Walk, even on a vacation or mission trip – wherever we experience God's call in our lives – part of that call is a call to share our story with others. So I hope that May 22nd will be a time of remembering our call on that "Call Sunday."
God is calling us, but we need to have times, spaces, places, and reminders in order to hear that call in our lives.