I serve on the Northeastern Iowa Synod Candidacy Committee, and most time I feel a bit inadequate in my service. Serving with me are many fine rostered leaders, educated professors and others with extensive church history. One of the fine things the committee does for its candidates is an overnight retreat with workshops and brainstorming sessions. During one such session we were to share our call story. One person said she had always felt called to ministry, just not ordained ministry.
We so often think that if we are not ordained we have no call in this society, or we may not look to our lives and service as a call. I sat in and listened to 5 other call stories in this group of candidates and committee members and I’ve decided the word call is much bigger than we can imagine.
Early on my call was working in service for others as a cosmetologist which has now been extended to service in client’s homes. A call to be wife, mother and grandmother is very profound. I have also been called to be a godparent to six children. How cool is that? I have been called to serve Women of the ELCA at its many expressions. I am currently in call serving our synod’s Candidacy Committee and was previously called to serve our synod council.
Can you imagine the many calls you’ve taken and served? Take a moment and put together that list.
In reading the letter sent to synodical women’s organization presidents upon the assignment of the representative to their SWO conventions, Jenny Michael, president of WELCA, wrote this: “…God does not call us only once, but calls us many times, to many different vocations. There are calls to faith, calls to family, calls to work-life, but in amongst all of that there are also calls to specific communities and calls to particular tasks within those communities.”
So perhaps your call didn’t seem so important. Maybe you didn’t think the roles in your life were a call. I ask this of you: become an active listener and uphold what you hear. Lift that call up, hold it proudly and shout it out for all to know. Listen to each other’s call and share what you see in another. Perhaps acknowledging a call will in turn give that person just enough courage to answer the call. Each of us plays an important role for the good of the whole. May you step out in such bold faith to answer your call.
Syd Brinkman is serving a second term on the churchwide executive board. She hails from Allison, Iowa.
Photo by Ky. Used with permission.