Christ’s ministry is the foundation and standard for all ministry, the pattern of the one who came “not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). The basic form of ministry is the ministry of the whole people of God, from whose midst, some are called to . . . fulfill particular functions. – Book of Order G-2.0101
I am sometimes asked to share with people about my call to ministry. While I am always happy to share my story, I also like to respond in kind: “Tell me about your call to ministry.” If you are a lay person – a doctor, teacher, artist, office worker, etc. – the request may seem confusing; but the truth is, all who belong to Christ are called to share in Christ’s ministry. We all have a call to minister on behalf of our Lord who came not to be served but to serve. For those who serve the church as pastors, elders, and deacons that fact that they are called is not unique, for all are called to minister. What is unique is the particular function to which these leaders are called.
Elders are called to the function of governance and leadership. Elders ought to demonstrate wisdom, mature faith, leadership skills, compassion. Deacons are called to the function of care and service. They are identified by their strong spiritual character and compassion for the sick, the friendless, and the poor. In both roles, we are led by men and women who will exercise their leadership after the model of Christ and who will thoughtfully and prayerfully seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Each year, SIPC embarks on a process to nominate, elect, ordain, and install the leaders of our congregation. The whole congregation is responsible for selecting those whom God has called to lead and serve. As a member of Sea Island, you are encouraged to prayerfully consider whether God has called you or someone you know to leadership in the congregation. If so, you may submit a name through the nominating forms available in the church office and narthex. The nominating committee will present a slate of those who have been nominated and agreed to serve at a congregational meeting on June 7. The newly elected officers will have training in the fall and assume office in January 2016. (Check out this document for more on the nominating procedure and timline.) As a member of the congregation, you have the opportunity to vote on the candidates, based on the criteria outlined in the previous paragraph. Those who are elected are installed, and the congregation pledges to encourage them, respect their decisions, and follow as they guide.
And remember, whether or not you are called to a special function in the congregation, you are certainly called to be a minister on behalf of Jesus Christ. So, watch out, I just might ask you about your call to ministry!