This issue is an invitation to the process of discernment and call. The process of discernment and the identification of call do not necessarily come in the loud thunderous voice we presume Moses heard. Instead, it’s more often experienced as God’s leading, that is felt down on the inside of you, in the midst of everyday experiences, and in the experiences of closed doors and unexpected opportunities. At CTS, we believe discernment is an ongoing process with no clear end but many notable stops along the journey of life in Christ. There is no 12 step process that takes us from point A to point B, only guideposts that often expand our imaginations and offer us new options to be considered.
Seminary is perhaps one of those new options presented by the guideposts in your life. Choosing to go to seminary is one part discernment and one part decision. On one hand, you discern that God is calling you to begin preparation for a life of service you had not before considered. Or for others it is discerning to embark upon a new level of learning for the life of service you have already been engaged. On the other hand, what’s discernment without making a decision? At some point, answering a call requires you to decide to respond in obedience to that call by taking action.
So for those of you who have embarked upon the discernment process or are at least willing to give it a try, here’s an opportunity to take your first action:
Columbia Theological Seminary
Fall Seminary Weekend for Prospective Students
November 1-2, 2013
Join us for worship, class sessions, fellowship meals, and presentations! Learn how Columbia helps students nourish their calls and enhance their leadership skills for ministry.
In the meantime, read our articles, visit our website, and feel free to connect with us through FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, email or phone. Over the next month, as you discern new things and make new decisions, tell us about it. We want to hear from you and discover how you are making connections too!
Until next time,
Monica Wedlock, MDIV '07, THM '13, Director of Admissions and Recruitment
Vocare: Discovering Your Call
By Claudia Aguilar, MDIV '11 Associate Director of Recruitment and Student Services
When I was growing up in Mexico City, there was a common phrase that I heard very often: “Three kinds of people have a vocation: priests, doctors, and teachers.” It is mostly used to praise the work of those in such professions, but also to indicate how ordinary the rest of us are. Thus, I grew up thinking that vocation was some sort of special trait for special people. And ironically enough, I was born in a family full of doctors and teachers, and I did not feel compelled to any of these vocations. Furthermore, I grew up in a culture where women are not seen as ministers on a regular basis.
And then, in high school, I had to take Latin. I learned that the term vocation came from the Latin vocare, which means “to call.” And that made a huge difference in how I saw the world. The Bible was full of stories of people who had been called by God! And they had all sorts of occupations: shepherds, peasants, queens, midwives, children, fishermen, and tax collectors! And the list goes on! Hence, I started listening more carefully to the people around me and the stories of how they became musicians, dentists, housewives, and after-school program directors. My dad, a professional musician, says he was born to heal souls with his music; he claims that “he is paid to do his hobby.” My mom, a dentist, sees her everyday work in under-served communities as a way to serve and give thanks to the God she loves so much. My neighbor, a mother of five, felt the best way to serve God and God’s people was to raise men and women who would make the world a better place. My friend Megan, an after-school program director, cries when she sees the seeds of her work with at-risk children and youth bear fruit.
So when I had to decide what would be my major in college, I listened carefully to what God wanted me to do. I knew since I was a little girl that I wanted to change the world and to serve God. After looking at my options, praying, talking with mentors and family, and a lot of thinking, I decided to study International Relations. But learning about politics made me not want to be involved in politics. At the same time, I was very involved in campus ministry and I felt my heart burning when I was doing anything at that place, from making cinnamon rolls, to singing, to being in Bible study, to participating in skits. And that was what I wanted to feel every day in my job; the same thing that my parents, my neighbor, and my friend Megan feel every day in their jobs. Simultaneously, the opportunity to go to seminary opened in my life.
All the pieces came together, my heart was permanently on fire, and I was serving God with my whole life, every day! That is vocation. As you discern your vocation, I invite you to read the stories of the men and women in the Bible, to hear the stories of those around you, to pray without ceasing, and to find that which makes your heart burn.