Calling in the Midst of Community

A United Methodist pastor, a Catholic priest, a Disciples pastor, a UCC clergywoman, some stranger in Vienna, and my mom….  As I type the list, I feel like I’m starting a joke.  But this is no joke.  These are the influencers who changed my life.  Who God spoke through in some of the most intimate moments I’ve known.  Some of them may not even know it, may not know that God was witnessing through them.  That they joined my cloud, some quietly and some with a little more flair.

I believe wholeheartedly that a call to serving the church in ordained ministry can come in a mystical moment, but I believe with an equal passion that such a call is as often nurtured through a community of witnesses.

Mom, as she tells me she thinks I should consider ministry, which I’ve thought about but never told her.

A Catholic priest who, in a moment of questioning and struggle with systems and process, simply asks, “Do you trust God?”

A Disciples friend who plain and simple makes ministry seem a blast!!!  Really a blast.  Like there is nothing on the planet that could be more filled with joy than serving the church as a pastor.

A UCC family friend who shares the deep, rich understanding of grace that she learns from John Wesley.  (Yes, I should have learned that in confirmation class.  No, I wasn’t paying attention.  Rev. Barry Woodward, you are also in my cloud, and I’m sorry I didn’t pay attention.)

A stranger in Vienna that suggested I try the bus stop over toward St. Stephen’s Cathedral.  Yes, you were three sheets to the wind.  But in that walk the call and path forward was more clear than it has ever been.  (And it was, indeed, the right bus stop.)

And a United Methodist pastor who saw a pastor in me.  And nurtured it.  And prayed for me.  And loved me.  And gave me opportunities.  (And introduced me to my wife, a bonus in this story.)

So whose cloud are you in?  Who are you nurturing, and praying for, and loving, and giving opportunities to realize the spark of the Spirit at work in his or her life?  It’s a question I realize I need to ask myself more often.

(Check out Exploration 2013 .  If you’re feeling the nudge of God toward serving the church, it is a fantastic opportunity to expand your cloud of witnesses and explore together.  If you know a young adult (18-26) who is exploring, help them get to Denver!)

Rev. Brian Durand
Associate Director of Leadership Development

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