For some following the call to ministry may feel like venturing into unknown territory, where no one you know has ever gone before. It doesn’t have to be that way. A Candidacy Summit was conducted at Camp Jo-Ota in August for people considering going into ministry.
Leaders at the summit included Bishop Robert Schnase, Rev. Bruce Baxter, Rev. Eric Huffman, Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III, Rev. Beth Elders, Mid-State District Superintendent Lynn Dyke, Heartland North and Pony Express District Superintendent Steve Cox, Rev. Yvi Martin, Rev. Lucas Endicott, Rev. Mike Wondell, Rev. Jim Downing, and Rev. Mark Dumas. There were times of worship, workshops and plenary sessions. Gateway Regional District Superintendent Rathert lead the group through a personality profile to help them discover their strengths. But it wasn’t just the learning time that was valuable, it was the time of connection.
“People really appreciated having time to meet with their mentor groups,” said Jenny Gragg, Missouri Conference Pastoral Excellence assistant. “They also had the opportunity to talk with some recently ordained people who have recently been through the process within the last few years.”
A total of 38 people participated. For some, it reaffirmed their called to ministry and invigorated them for the next steps in the candidacy process. For others, they gained a better understanding of the process, and are now considering other ways that they may better follow their calling to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
“People have been receiving support through the process on a one-on-one basis, but it can be really helpful to have everyone considering candidacy together in one place. They can hear each others’ questions, and learn more from the process,” said Director of Pastoral Excellence Karen Hayden. “It can help open new opportunities to people that they may have not known about. It can also be helpful for people to see other people who look like them, or don’t look like them, considering candidacy.”