From Rev Suzanne Pattle, Associate Vocations Coordinator, Diocese of Salisbury
There is no one particular mould into which we are expected to fit, a template of an ideal priest. God calls you as you, with your particular gifts and weaknesses, your own particular life story. In discerning any call, the most important thing is to make sense of our own story, recognising the points where God has been at work. That will be different for each person.
Key questions when considering a call to ordination:
- Are you increasingly drawn to the sacraments (whatever your church tradition)?
- Is there a growing desire to grow in your knowledge of the scriptures and a yearning to teach and grow alongside others – are you hungry for more?
- Do you feel more and more profoundly connected to the people among whom you worship in ways that surprise you?
- Do you have a longing to reach out to those in your community with the good news of God’s love – making connections and sharing the gospel in word and deed? In other words, not being religious and churchy (all too easy), but seeking to find a way of speaking the language of God’s love in ways that those outside the church can understand (ordination involves ministry ‘on the edge’, liminal moments – life events)
- Do you feel called into a public representative role, acting as a signpost to Christ in your church and your community
- Are you willing and prepared to make sacrifices in response to God’s call – of time, energy, life-style, location, income, pension prospects!?
- Do you have a heart for all God’s people – a longing to see people come to a real faith in Christ, to grow in Christian maturity – to play a part in nourishing them through a ministry of both word and sacrament
- Do you long to help others discover their calling and ministry in the body of Christ?
- Are you experiencing a sense of ‘holy disturbance’? A restlessness within your spirit, which is not being satisfied by any other form of involvement in Christian ministry?
You do not need to be able to tick all these questions at the outset, but you do need to be engaging with them and growing in your experience of them.