A NEWS RELEASE
From National Office of the ELCIC
Winnipeg, January 11, 2005 (ELCIC)--Remember to observe It’s Your Call on January 16, 2005
Pastors, Diaconal Ministers and all ELCIC Parishes are encouraged to participate in the It’s Your Call emphasis during worship services on Sunday, January 16, 2005.
It’s Your Call is a church-wide project to identify potential candidates for pastoral or diaconal ministry in the church by inviting those at worship to nominate persons from congregations that are perceived to have leadership gifts, and perhaps the Call, to serve as an ordained or lay diaconal minister.
This is also a time to remember the invitation of Jesus and to pray for the church’s leadership needs, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest." (Luke 10:2).
Each parish in the four western synods has received an It’s Your Call packet with resources to use on January 16. Eastern synod congregations are observing a second phase of this emphasis.
Pastors and others leading worship this Sunday are encouraged to:
· Announce the emphasis in the parish newsletter and bulletin.
· Use the worship and sermon aids to select hymns, prepare the sermon and guide the prayers.
· Duplicate the bulletin inserts Candidate’s Profile and Nomination Form and distribute to al worshippers.
· Read the letter of encouragement from your synodical bishop.
· Invite each person to nominate a potential candidate for ordained or diaconal ministry.
· Gather nominations forms with the Sunday offering.
· After reviewing the nominations, pastors are requested to inform those nominated and Interview those named to ascertain readiness for ministry.
· Forward the names of those indicating interest to the synod office for follow up by the Bishop and the Committee for Theological Education and Leadership (CTEL).
It’s Your Call is a first step in a process of encouraging and enlisting professional church leaders. In 2004 the Eastern synod emphasis identified 69 potential candidates for ministry. This synod is continuing It’s Your Call through an emphasis this year on youth leadership.
The call to ministry is indeed God’s Call. The people of God are also involved by assisting potential candidates to consider their personal call. Those called to ministry often report going through a process of inner struggle and search to be confident about God’s call.
Congregations can be helpful to those considering ordained or diaconal ministry by affirming individual gifts, encouraging potential candidates to take part in discernment events, and providing opportunities for potential candidates to gain experience in worship leadership, teaching and peer counseling,
Congregations might also provide scholarships or bursaries to those studying for the ministry. Although a challenging calling, ordained or diaconal ministry offer rich and rewarding experiences sharing the Word of God through preaching, teaching, organizing, serving and counseling.
The ELCIC anticipates a substantial shortage of pastors in future years. Thus there is an urgency to identify, discern, encourage and support candidates for ministry at this time.
Additional information about It’s Your Callis available from your synod office or Pastor Ken Kuhn.