Young people can begin to explore where God might be leading them at quite a young age, and we have been privileged to accompany people as young as 14 and upwards. As a team we would want to encourage existing clergy to send young people in their parishes who might want to have such conversations to one of the team. We are excited and encouraged by the energy, commitment and creativity we have discovered in our younger cohort.
Exploring your vocation
What is Vocation?
Everyone has a vocation: a purpose and a role to play in the building up of God's Kingdom. God calls people from all walks of life to do an infinite variety of different things. Some have a vocation to raise a family; others have a vocation to be a schoolteacher; still others a vocation to be a chef or beautician.
As well as the many other roles God calls people to fulfil, within the Church, God calls people to be leaders and pastors, teachers and preachers. He calls some into the Ordained Ministry of the Church to work as Deacons and Priests. The history of the Church is full of people who have responded to just such a call.
God calls people from all walks of life into the ordained ministry, regardless of age or experience. Ordained ministry isn't for everyone, but it is a calling that the Church takes very seriously.
If you think that he might be calling you, and that your vocation in life might be to serve God in this way, this website might help you to reflect on what that calling might mean, and give you advice about next steps you might like to take.
Call in the Bible
Scripture is full of examples of people whom God has called to fulfil a special purpose, from Abraham to Isaiah in the Old Testament, and from Mary to Paul and Lydia in the New Testament.
If you think that God might be calling you to a special task, you might like to spend some time reading the following passages from the Bible, and reflecting on how God might be speaking to you.
Abraham- Genesis 12 view passage
Moses - Exodus 3 view passage
Samuel - 1 Samuel 3:1-10 view passage
Isaiah - Isaiah 6:1-8 view passage
Mary - Luke 1:26-38 view passage
Simon Peter - Luke 5:1-11 view passage
Paul - Acts 9:1-22 view passage
Lydia - Acts 16:14-15 view passage
The Great Commission - Matthew 28:16-20 view passage
The selection and discernment process
Discerning a call to ordained ministry is not easy, and involves the assistance of many people, from your friends and family to your priest and beyond. As a part of the selection process, you will need to be open to the idea that the wider Church needs to discern whether or not you might be called to ordained ministry.
The first step of the discernment process is to talk to your parish priest. If he or she feels that you might indeed have a calling to licensed ministry in the Diocese, then you will be referred to the Diocesan Director of Vocations (DDV), who then becomes responsible for your discernment.
Eventually, if the DDO feels that the time is right, you will attend a Bishops' Advisory Panel (BAP), which is the final stage of the discernment process before you enter training. At the BAP, national representatives of the Church will explore with you, and several other candidates, whether or not God is calling you into ordained ministry.
The discernment process is naturally a rigorous one, and can take some years; some vocations take a lifetime to discern. The process is designed to stimulate your sense of calling and to reflect upon what it is that God might be asking you to do; it is important that this is not rushed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to go next: how to start the ball rolling
Get in touch and find out more with the DDV. She oversees the selection of people who feel that God is calling them into ordained ministry. She is also able to answer any questions you might have, or point you to other people and resources.
To contact the DDV, email DDV@chester.anglican.org
Parish placements and intern possibilities
If you are exploring ministry in the Church of England, a great thing to do is spend some time working in a parish church, so that you can get first-hand experience of the different kinds of licensed ministries that exist within the diocese and to meet other people. The diocese is keen to support young people who wish to undertake such a placement, whether that be for some months or just a few days.
If you would like more information about placement opportunities, please contact the DDV by email on DDV@chester.anglican.org