Dear Fellow Saints,
I am delighted to commend to you the work of Dr. Ken Kuhn and the prior work of the Eastern Synod in bringing you It's Your Call materials. We need to discern one another's call in this church and It's Your Call is a solidly community-based way to do it.
I have said in the past that Wayne Gretzky was playing in the NHL at age 17 because people spotted his talent when he was ten. We in the church need help to be as diligent as those sports scouts in spotting people who have the spiritual gifts and human aptitudes for leadership in the church and in society.
As the materials point out, those in whom we see the gifts for ministry may be serving other professions or may not see themselves as suited for ministry in the church. However, they will not hear God's challenge if we do not ask them.
Having a desire to serve the church is one part of God's call. The other part involves the church calling those whom it sees as gifted for service. The call comes from outside as well as inside. Our job is to be agents of the outside call.
I find this community-based approach to call very powerful. Leadership skills can be learned in school, but leadership itself is an attribute that is recognized and consented to by the community. There can be trained people who will never be accepted as leaders and there can be leaders who are effective in spite of no training. We hope to combine the best of both experiences to continue the tradition of a well-educated, well-respected ministry within the church.
There are new challenges for today's leaders as society changes and the church struggles to find its place in the public life of this land. I think It's Your Call will be a great help in identifying and calling the people we need for these challenges.
The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of [ministry] desires a noble task. (1 Tim. 3:1)
May every gift of the Spirit be yours as you serve the mission of Christ.
Raymond L. Schultz, National Bishop