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Churches can help young people discern a calling

Churches can help young people discern a calling

By Nicole Burdakin | GBHEM

Almost every United Methodist — lay and clergy — can point to a member of the church who inspired and influenced them at some point in their journey, perhaps who even encouraged them to consider a particular vocation or to pursue a gift.

God calls everyone into ministry, but ministry means more than ordination. This summer, a new resource, “Called: One Word, Many Ways,” equips congregational leadership to ask important questions around call and help individuals listen for God’s voice, discern what has been heard, and respond faithfully.

A collaboration among Discipleship Ministries, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) and United Methodist Communications, the “Called: One Word, Many Ways” experience is unprecedented in its breadth and connectionalism. 

“The most important aspects of vocational discernment is to ask often and ask early. ‘Called’ engages children as young as 4 or 5-years-old with the concepts of call and vocation,” said the Rev. Trip Lowery, director of Young Adult Ministry Discernment and Enlistment at GBHEM.

“These resources engage young adults and older adults with the same ideas. The church should help people discern who God is calling them to be, regardless of whether their faithful response is to ordained leadership or ministry as a public school teacher, police officer, government worker or manual laborer,” Lowery continued. “‘Called’ is not just about discovering ordained ministry; it is about discovering all ministry.”

Worship resources available for download include liturgical resources, sermon starters, reflection questions, video stories and commitment cards.

Educational resources for children (K-5) and youth (6-12), are written in a four session format and can be utilized as curriculum in Sunday school, after-school programming, vacation bible school or United Methodist Youth Fellowship (UMYF). The educational resources are intentionally flexible—leaders can use the games, lessons and discussion guides as a unit or incorporate individual activities into their existing programs.

The congregational vitality of The United Methodist Church begins in the local church, where faith is formed and nurtured in people of all ages, especially the young. Equipping congregations to speak the language of call and move intentionally toward discovering and nurturing their vocation will contribute to the health and vitality of their own faith, community, and of the denomination.

Find educational and worship resources online for creating the “Called: One Word, Many Ways” experience at your church at

Burdakin is editorial and production assistant, Office of Communications, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.