Did you know – we’re all called to be ministers? Not all are called to be pastors or Reverends. But we’re all called to be ministers or priests for each other. “Baptists hold that ALL believers share as equals in the church, and, in turn, have a priestly role toward each other.” (Baptist Distinctives).
As Baptists, one thing we deeply believe is that we’re all called. Some are called to vocational ministry like senior/associate/youth pastor, chaplaincy, church planting, international missions and more. To all of us, God has given spiritual gifts with the intent that they be used and exercised for the edification of the church and building of the kingdom for the glory of God.
The local church’s responsibility is to raise up and equip leaders for the ministry in the local context. Among these leaders, some will sense God calling them to more formal vocational ministry. The CBAC’s role is to walk alongside them as they explore where God may be leading them and help guide them in a direction where they can be best used by God.
Over the past four years, Dr. Garth Williams (Associate Executive Minister, Leadership Development) has been helping our pastors and potential pastors discern where God may be leading them. One tool he’s implemented is Explore (https://baptist-atlantic.ca/explore), an event for anyone interested in ordained ministry with the CBAC. It is also a requirement for anyone entering our credentialing process.
This fall, the event was held in Wolfville, NS & Moncton, NB where 18 Explorers met to figure out where God may be calling them.
Here’s what you can expect at Explore:
- Before attending, participants go through a series of assessments such as DISC personality profile and EQI (emotional intelligence) to help them better understand themselves and how they may respond in various situations. The results are provided at a one-on-one interview prior to Explore.
- During the event, different CBAC staff members give talks and presentations about aspects of the call such as what exactly is a “call”, CBAC’s journey to ordination process, new congregations, church renewal, and clergy health – all of which are vital in the life of the vocational pastor within the CBAC.
Here are some snippets from Explore 2016:
- Rev. Dr. Peter Reid on Addressing the Issue of the Call:
- “Your sense of calling has to capture your heart. There will be days when you wonder what in the world you’re doing. You need to be convinced of your calling. It has to do with the passion and direction of your heart.”
- Rev. Dr. Garth Williams described the process of examining your call to ministry, your fit for ministry with the CBAC and ordination/credentialing process. See Journey to Ordination brochure (https://baptist-atlantic.ca/news/journey-to-ordination/).
- “When someone has completed our process, there have been at least ten different steps on the journey where the individual has been vetted and affirmed in their call to serve.”
- “What I love about our process is that it begins with the local church affirming gifts through a church license and culminates in the local church affirming the call through ordination to ministry.”
- Rev. Kevin Vincent talked about different types of new congregations and how important it is to find your fit whether it’s in assisting an existing congregation to grow or starting something new.
- “When you find your fit, it’s fun. And when you find your fit, you’ll be best for the Kingdom.”
- Rev. Greg Jones provided information on the DISC personality profile results and also shared about Church Renewal: Hopes & Expectations:
- “Congregational decline is not in keeping with God’s purposes for the church — regardless of the community they may find themselves in.”
- “The pastor needs to be a collaborative catalyst, helping churches be attentive to what God is saying to them and where He is leading them. To do this, a pastor must wisely steward the confidence the congregation has placed in them.”
- Rev. Dr. Cheryl Ann Beals led the group in unpacking a case study and talked about the importance of good clergy health:
- “Pastors are responsible to be good stewards of their life and well-being before God.”
- “Read scripture for more than just knowledge; read it to allow God to speak into our lives.”
- “Burnout is an issue when we neglect our soul.”
If you’d like to know more about Explore or would just like to have a conversation, Garth would love to buy you a coffee and have a chat. Contact Garth Williams – firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-506-635-1922 ext. 131 to leave a voicemail.