Church Council Endorses January 16, 2005 as It's Your Call Sunday
There is a great need for candidates for ordained and lay diaconal ministry in our church now and in the future. On any given date, over fifty vacant congregations in the ELCIC are seeking pastoral leadership. Where do these leaders come from? They come from our ELCIC congregations and families. There is much joy and satisfaction to serve as a minister in the church. The harvest is plenty, the workers few.
National Church Council has endorsed the It's Your Call program to encourage the recruitment of candidates for the ordained and lay diaconal ministry. January 16, 2005 is designated It's Your Call Sunday, inviting each congregation to identify potential candidates for ministry. During the worship service, pastors are asked to focus on the need for church leaders and then invite all worshippers to nominate persons they perceive to have the gifts, and perhaps the Call, to serve as an ordained or lay diaconal minister.
This project was conducted in the Eastern Synod in January 2004 with very promising results. A revised It's Your Call packet has been distributed to all congregations in the western synods to use on January 16, 2005. Please contact your synod office if you have not received this packet. (Congregations in the Eastern Synod that were unable to participate last year may request the worship and prayer suggestions for 2005 through the synod office.)
Those wishing additional information may contact Dr. Kenneth C. Kuhn, Director of the Millennium Study of Leadership Needs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Suggestion for your congregation's newsletter:
Our church body, the ELCIC, has an aging clergy pool. Currently, the average age of those in active ministry is fifty years of age. In fifteen years over two hundred and fifty pastors will reach retirement age. Thus our church is facing a critical shortage of leadership. The number of students in our seminaries is not keeping up with the demand for pastors and lay diaconal ministers. Who will go to answer the call to Christian ministry? It's Your Call.
To address this need, the ELCIC has initiated a recruitment program, It's Your Call. On Sunday, January 16, each congregation in our church is requested to give emphasis at the worship service to the need for ordained and lay diaconal ministers. Each member of the congregation will be given the opportunity to name a person who is viewed as having the gifts for ministry, and perhaps a sense of call. At the worship service, each person at church will be invited to submit the name of a man, woman or child who you think might have the qualifications to serve as a minister in the church. Full-time workers in the church come from our congregations and our families. It's Your Call.
Our pastor or other leader in the congregation will interview those nominated to see about their interest in ministry. These names will be forwarded to the synod Bishop for further consideration and encouragement. The Call to ministry is the work of the Holy Spirit, experienced through an inner call. The Call to ministry is also a call through the church that encourages and nurtures gifts for ministry. As a member of the church, It's Your Call.
The It's Your Call emphasis was modeled in the Eastern Synod last year. Over one hundred names were nominated as prospective candidates for ministry. Enrollment at their seminary increased markedly this fall. It's Your Call shows great potential for nurturing and encouraging candidates to step forward and offer themselves for service in Christ's name in the church. Each member is a vehicle of the Holy Spirit who calls and equips people for ministry. Please think about those in our congregation and come to worship on January 16 ready to nominate any who you see as having gifts for ministry. It's Your Call.
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