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It's Your Call--identify, explore and celebrate vocation
Vocation—a lesson plan for confirmandI Intro and Warm-Up
Materials needed: One sheet of flip chart paper and markers

Writes each person's name in a column down the paper and ask:

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Wait for responses…

Has this idea changed from then to now? What would you like to be or do when you're older, now?
Record their responses in a second column on the chart paper, next to their names.

II Key Words and Definitions

Materials needed: Flip chart paper from Part I, flip chart paper with the definitions of career and vocation, a fresh sheet of flip chart paper and markers

Write the word "career" on the fresh sheet of flip chart paper and below it, write the word "vocation." Ask the class to try and define the two words. Record their responses on the sheet.

Share these two definitions with the class.

Career something of our choosing, a job we are specifically trained for, a goal we try to reach.

Vocation a gift from God, listening for God's voice and trying to figure out what God is calling us to do.

Vocation doesn't come from our own willfulness; it comes from listening to and accepting our true self with our limits as well as our potential. Vocation is a career which is discerned and expressed through the lens of our baptisms and within our identity as people of God. We're all called by God, through the grace of our baptisms, to serve God and serve others.

As a class, go through the list of careers the class listed in the first exercise.
For each career ask:

How can this serve God and serve others?

Discuss as a group, while the leader records responses on the flip chart paper, in a column next to the careers/vocations that are listed beside their names.

III The Meat of the Matter
Materials needed: Bibles, catechisms, Bible verse slips, worksheets and pens or pencils, enough to supply each group.

Divide class into groups of two or three. Assign each group a pairing of Bible verses by drawing the slips out of a hat. Each pair of verses allows the group to compare the career choice of each Biblical character before and after they received and discerned God's call.

Give each group a worksheet, Bible, and pen or pencil. Have them read their assigned Bible verses and work through the worksheet provided. Discuss their findings as a group.

Open the Small Catechism to Martin Luther's explanation to the Third Article of the Apostle's Creed. Talk about what Martin Luther is saying in this instance, that vocation is not a goal to be achieved, but rather, a gift to be received. God, through the Holy Spirit calls us, enlightens us and gives us gifts. This is most certainly true!

IV Hands On!
Materials needed: flip chart paper from Part I, playdough (recipe) enough for each person to have a lump at least the size of a meatball, blindfolds, one for each person, made of cloth or narrow strips cut from a clean garbage bag.

The leader hands each class member a lump of playdough. Have them play with it and squish it around as you explain the activity.

Ask the class to each think of one thing they are good at—something they would consider to be a gift. Explain they are to use their playdough to design a sculpture that represents this particular gift. But, there's a catch! They must do it with their eyes closed, or by wearing a blindfold. Give the class enough time to complete the activity.

Have each class member explain what their completed sculpture is and how they came to discover the gift that it represents.

After all have shared, ask the class what was easy about this activity and what was difficult. The obvious answer to the difficult question is that it was hard to sculpt something with their eyes closed.

Talk about how our senses including our ability to touch and to see are also gifts to us from God.

Some may experience difficulty in identifying a special gift or skill they feel they possess. The leader may wish to talk about the difficulty we sometimes have in seeing gifts and skills in ourselves.

Figuring out what it is that God is calling us to do means recognizing the gifts we already have and how God is calling us to use these gifts to serve God and to serve others. This can be hard work!

What gifts and skills do you think are needed for these vocations?

Lists gifts and skills in a column next to the vocations.

Break here if dividing the workshop into two sessions.

V God's Call to Ministry
Materials needed: Bibles, Ephesians worksheet, flip chart paper, markers

There are lots of different ways to serve God. Hand out Ephesians worksheet.

Have class members work independently to circle the words in this passage from Ephesians that have particular meaning for them. Share as a group some of the words each class member circled and why.

This passage from Ephesians specifically lists pastor as a vocation. Has anyone ever thought of being a pastor?

Brainstorm what the class believes a pastor does, and what gifts are needed to be a pastor.

Do any of you think you may have some of these gifts and skills? Do any of you think each other may have some of these gifts and skills?

Spend some time talking about what it takes to be a pastor…the education needed, the academic process, as well as the church process. Stress that in our Lutheran church, one's call to be a pastor is a gift of God and comes through having many conversations with God, but that this call is also one which is affirmed by the wider church community. One purpose of the synodical partners to help students identify and articulate their sense of call to ministry.

VI Lets Have Some Fun!
Materials needed: "Who Wants to be a Minister?" game (questions, multiple choice answers on flip chart paper, "Lifelines"strips; a die; .

This game is loosely modeled on the game show, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"

Divide group into two teams. Team members will work together to answer the questions.

Teams alternate rolling the dice to have a turn to answer the questions. A two or a six must be rolled in order to answer the questions. Points are awarded for each question answered correctly.

Hand the "Life-lines" strips out to each team. They may use them whenever they want, but once the "life-lines" run out there are no more.

If one team answers a question incorrectly, the other team has a chance to steal a point if they have the correct answer. The team with the highest score at the end of the game (when time or the questions run out), wins.

VII Closing Let's Give Thanks to God.
Share the following ritual and have class turn to the person next to them and say:

You, name, are God's child, called to be a blessing to the world. while making the sign of the cross on each other's foreheads.

Share the following prayer:

Gracious and loving God, thank you for making us all unique, with our individual interests and abilities. Help us to hear your call clearly that we might use all you have given us to serve you and others according to your will for us. Grant us wisdom and patience as we wrestle with decisions about the direction our lives will take. Be our guide and our guest this day and all days. This we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
© Copyright 2007 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada