For the last 3 weeks I have been preaching on the movie “Paul-The Apostle of Christ.” Paul, a former persecutor of Christians was called by God to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, a calling to which Paul passionately immersed himself.

In many of Paul’s letters to the early churches, he encouraged Christians to listen for their call from God and to heed that call. He told them that each person is called to serve God. As he told the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 4:1-8(NIV)- As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”

I repeat in other words, each of us is called to serve God in some way. Perhaps you are called to teach the children, perhaps to lead the youth, perhaps to be involved in church leadership, whether it be in finance, missions, pastor/staff/parish relations, or care for the infrastructure, among others. Perhaps I can get you thinking about where you are called by sharing my call statement. I also think it is important for you to understand your pastor’s calling.

I was first cognizant of my call from God in 2002 at the age of 53. To this day, I wonder if I wasn’t called until then or if I just wasn't listening. In any case, I believe the timing was perfect. Our children were adults and Greg and I had both grown in our faith while walking with Christ, to a point where I was comfortable saying yes to God and beginning the process of Candidacy for Ministry and Greg felt blessed to support me.

I have been called by God to preach and teach God’s word to both believers and non-believers and to care for all in my churches and in the communities to which I am assigned by the Bishop and his cabinet.

While reaching out to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, I work to enlighten them with the Truth of his love and grace, freely offered, but only given when willingly accepted.

Because the United Methodist Church is connectional, I have also become fully aware of theimportance of serving both the District and the Conference, as well as the local church.

I also feel called to interact with my colleagues in ministry. I believe that clergy often need to share confidentially with other clergy. We can also hold each other accountable to our call to ministry, and, sometimes, it is just refreshing to be in fellowship with others in the same profession.

My call continues to be defined the longer I am in ministry. After almost eleven years as a Licensed Local Pastor, I feel called to move on to become an Associate Member of the Michigan Conference. While being able to fully serve my congregations as a Local Pastor, I believe I can serve the greater United Methodist Community as an Associate Member. The challenges of completing the necessary paperwork for consideration as an Associate Member is beneficial to my Spiritual growth.

In summary, I am called to preach and teach the Word of God, to care for all in my churches, and to be a shepherd, leading the churches in the areas of stewardship, evangelism, spiritual gifts, leadership, and programming. I should be involved with the LeValley/Berlin Center congregations, the Ionia/Saranac communities, the Midwest District, the Michigan Conference, and take time to interact with colleagues in the pastoral community. I hope to continue to grow in all of these areas.

So, why am I speaking to you about call? It is because data shows that 20% of church members do 80% of the work. Are you part of that 20%? Volunteers are needed to serve on committees for both churches. Volunteers are needed to help with events, with clean-up days, with prayer, etc. LeValley has a church clean-up day scheduled for May 12th. I hope that there will be more workers present than jobs that need to be done. On June 14th and 15th, Berlin Center is hosting an Old-Fashioned Tent Revival for the community. Volunteers are needed to work, to welcome guests, and to witness to the good news of Jesus Christ.

I will be praying for each of you as you communicate with God as to your call. If you would like to speak with me about call or Spiritual Gifts, I am ready and willing to meet.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Nancy

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