Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Call to Ministry

Dear Friends,

I am writing on behalf of my passion for young clergy in the UMC. The call went out for bloggers to post about their Call to ministry. Twitter has been a great way to find other #UMYC, and those with a passion for the future of the church.

To that end, I think it valuable to tell the story of my call to ministry:

I have talents to think critically and to build up the body of Christ. Ministry is the use of those talents and gifts sharing God with others by the very life I live, and seeking God more clearly individually.

God’s call to be in ministry, acting as the body of Christ to the world today, was established at my birth and carries me through today. This means that the actions of Christ, the delivery of the Sacraments, the teaching, the healing, the spiritual awareness, and understanding of the Scriptures are to be realized in me each day. Christ is the context and I am the hands, feet and body of Christ for the people.

Before I was even born I was given to God. Much as Hannah gave Samuel to God before he was born, in covenant with God, my own parents dedicated me to God’s service. I began to serve the church from an early age, as the youngest acolyte in our church in Bishop, but even before that. I grew up going to camps and learning about God through the world around me. I lived the joy of life God gave to me. But I also helped in the kitchens, cleaning tables and running errands from camp tables while just a wee 5 or 6 years old. I later taught Children’s Church and Sunday School as a Junior High and High School student. In college I served in leadership as a small group Bible Study Leader at Emory University and on the Executive Council of the University of Alabama Wesley Foundation.

I took up the call to ministry as a Junior in college and began the work of preparing for seminary. I went back to Emory and Candler School of Theology and got my M. Div. During that time I worked as a youth leader in the North Georgia Conference in a church with 300 plus youth and a membership of over 3000 people.

I felt the pull of God and family to return to California where I had grown up in Bishop and Southern California, and after seminary came back. I took a job at FUMC Santa Barbara, and was later commissioned for ministry to serve that church as the associate pastor.

In 2004 our Conference bestowed three great blessings upon me. I met my now wife in 2003 at Annual Conference. We were married May 22, 2004. I was brought through the ordination process and Ordained by Bishop Mary Ann Swenson June 20th, 2004, and was given the opportunity to come and serve as the pastor at Del Rosa.

Since that time I have enjoyed appointments at Ojai United Methodist Church, and now at St. Andrew United Methodist Church, in Santa Maria, California.

My calling to ministry has enabled me to act on my faith and the gifts I am given through service in the local church, and especially in camp ministry. I continue to push forward in both of these arenas, serving in the local church, and gaining strength in my abilities there, as well as earning a Certificate in Camp and Retreat Ministry, and Christian Education, as well as serving as a dean and counselor for District Camping. I have been called to bring the local church and camps closer together in their shared ministry to the people of God, helping realize God's glory in all of creation.

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At September 25, 2009, Anonymous Gene Roncone said...

Love the discussion about preparing to ministry. If you have not seen it, check out the site. Explore the Call is a free, interactive website designed to help students identify, explore and nurture the call of God on their life. It offers weekly podcasts, a chat room, blog, online mentoring and cool downloads.


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