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When Jesus Calls: Finding a simpler, humbler, bolder vocation by Marcus Throup

14 April 2023

Lyle Dennen finds this guidance good, and not only for beginners

WHEN JESUS CALLS by Marcus Throup is a well written guide to discerning the variety of the ministry possibilities in the Church of England — both ordained and lay. Throup has a deep practical knowledge and experience of the hurdles, joys, pains, and blessings of vocation. The book has solid theology and is structured that one finds the call of Jesus when the Church is simpler, humbler, and bolder.

Throup writes beautifully. It is clear, very helpful, detailed, compassionate to individuals’ stress, but above all, prayerful and spiritual. And his examples are always colourful and accurate. For example, describing a parish priest as like a person riding a monocycle while juggling a number of loo brushes — you always have to keep your balance and be ready to clean up the mess.

Part 1, his “Simpler”, is about that the basic call is to reorientate one’s life around the truth that is Jesus’s life. Throup writes a Bible-based meditation on what is to be a disciple. It is powerful, fantastic. Part 2, his “Humbler”, is about trying to be sure, counting the cost, and getting real about oneself. Part 3, his “Bolder”, is about offering oneself for ministry, dealing with acceptance or rejection, and embracing ministerial formation. All these parts are put into the context of the need of the Church itself to grow in vibrancy, inclusivity, and greater service to God and those in need.

My only question about this book is the assumption that it is for those beginning their discovery of vocation. I am an old dog with fifty years of ministry, and I found it immensely helpful and powerful. Reading it was, for me, like an Ignatian examen, as I remembered my own call, strengths and weaknesses, sorrows and great joys. I would recommend this book to anyone in ministry, at whatever stage they are.

The Ven. Dr Lyle Dennen is Archdeacon Emeritus of Hackney, in east London.


When Jesus Calls: Finding a simpler, humbler, bolder vocation
Marcus Throup
Canterbury Press £12.99
Church Times Bookshop £11.69

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