The Revd Margaret Dean, vocations adviser in the diocese
My first response would be: how exciting! Talk to somebody about
it - either your vicar, or a close Christian friend whose judgement
you respect - and then contact your diocese, and ask who to talk to
about it there.
I certainly wouldn't steer [people] down the route of
ordination, because it may well be they'd make a superb
educationist, or writer, or whatever it might be. People can have a
very narrow view of what vocation is.
In my own experience, the shock was that God might call me to
something completely different at a later stage in life, after I'd
felt called to the world of education all my life, and was very
happy doing what I was doing.
It was determination on the part of my vicar, who told me he
thought I should be ordained. I said no, [but] he asked me the same
question every year for six years running, until I said that I
would at least enter into some conversations.
Adrian Smith, London School of Theology
We're called to be disciples of Christ in the context of the
People of God; and, therefore, as we seek to discern what our part
in the building of God's Kingdom is, there will be a personal
response to that; but it's also a corporate response -others will
have input. It's not just about fulfilling your life's desires, and
wrapping them up in spiritual language.
I would say that you need to deepen your relationship with God,
and any sense of calling needs to be affirmed by others who know
you well, and especially the leaders of your local church. Calling
is not just about gifts, but also about Christian character.
In one sense, God may call everybody; but the key thing in the
Bible is when people respond. It's that character that says: 'Being
a disciple of Jesus Christ means that I am a servant, and he is my
Master.' May-be [they] have got the gifts and abilities, but,
fundamentally, it's the willingness to obey that is key. Sometimes,
I think, that is the bit that is missed out.
The Revd Dallas Ayling, Rector of Birkenhead Priory, Rural Dean of
Birkenhead, and a deanery vocations adviser
I advise on vocations to the ministry in its broadest sense:
Reader, pastor, Church Army, [and ordained]. What I want to know is
the story of their journey of faith, and what it is that makes them
think they're being called to some kind of ministry beyond what
they've already got.
There are people I have doubts over, but you can't tell, and
maybe in the selection process they grow. When David was chosen to
be King of Israel, all his other brothers were presented to Samuel,
while David, the youngest and most unlikely, was out in the field
looking after the sheep. I'm always thinking: is this a David?
I originally went to theological college as an independent
student. It was an enormous step to take: I was a single parent,
and I didn't have any money, but by various means people gave money
towards my training. When I left college, I didn't have a job, and
it was another three years before I was accepted for
It took ten years from making enquiries to being ordained.
Something in me just said that this was the right thing for me, and
I couldn't let go of it. Every time I tried to explore other
things, I came back to the same place.
The Revd Dr Paul Roberts, Trinity College, Bristol
We're all called to follow Jesus Christ - that is the primary
call, and the most demanding call that anyone can have. And that
ought to shape every single day of our life, and every single
decision we make.
I don't think we should allow any other sense of call to eclipse
the primacy of that call.
Somebody may well be called to train as a nurse, or an
accountant, but those sorts of calling often come through a series
of lots of little faithful decisions, whereas, when people decide
to devote their life to serving God's people in the Church, that
often is quite a big thing.
I've been in theological education on and off for 25 years, and
I would say that in so far as we can talk of God calling people to
do things, that call expresses itself through the make-up of their
personality; and, for some people, it may well be articulated as a
kind of compulsion, or a passion that they've had for a very long
time; for others, it's a sense that they have to go down this path,
almost despite themselves.
Give it a bit of prayerful time and see what happens. A bit
further along the road, perhaps, have a go at doing something a bit
different vis-à-vis your engagement with your church, and
what it feels like to do something more up-front. Have ago at
giving a talk, or engage in some pastoral work in the church
community. God uses ordinary processes as well as extraordinary