My Call to Ministry Part 2

This was originally published on my blog, jasoncstanley.com.

I started sharing my call story last week. This week, I continue.

College was great! I had excellent professors who were mentors to me. B. J. Seymour, Steve Tuell, and Ira Andrews opened my eyes to the Bible and to the faith way beyond anything Sunday school had ever taught me. They also nurtured my call to ministry. They saw within me something that God was doing that I was still trying to get okay with.

My first semester at Randolph-Macon, the education class I took had us placed in classrooms to observe. We were to also teach one class. I was placed in a 7th-grade civics class. Other than my limited experience in the youth ministry at the time, I didn’t know what to do in a civics class. Give me some marshmallows or a few rolls of toilet paper, and we can play some crazy games. But civics?

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My Call to Ministry Part 1

This was originally written for my blog.

When I was in high school, through the combined experiences of the youth group, being on the Ashland District Youth Council, and participating in a summer work-camp called Richmond Metro Workcamp, I began to experience a call to ministry. I don’t remember sharing it with others. But it did reach a point where they shared it with me. It all became very real when the pastor of the small United Methodist Church where I grew up asked if I had ever thought about going into the ministry. As I finished high school, I was much more comfortable with the idea that God was calling me to ministry.

But, doubt would creep in. I would go to community college and get an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Development. I envisioned myself getting a teaching degree and teaching in a school. After getting that degree, I got a full-time job at a United Methodist church working with their weekday children’s ministry. During that time, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and in about eight months would claim the promise of the resurrection. Those eight months would send me into a whirlwind of thinking and rethink my vocational call. The reality of death and loss hit much harder than Bambi losing his mother ever did.

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Why Deacons? by Rev. Kerry Greenhill

A very thoughtful reflection on the role of deacon and why deacons should be included on General Conference delegations.

Sacred Stones Ministries

The book of Acts tells the stories of how the early church sought to understand its purpose, clarify its audience, and organize people to carry on the work and message of Jesus. From the dozen closest followers of Jesus to the growing movement of thousands of Jewish and Gentile believers, the first-century church soon realized that they needed leadership systems to ensure that there was room at the table – literally and figuratively – for all people. Early in that work, seven community leaders who were “full of the Spirit and of wisdom” were identified to coordinate food distribution to those in need and to make sure it was carried out in a just and inclusive way (Acts 6:1-6). These seven because known as the first deacons, from the Greek word diakonos, meaning servant.

Why Deacons? | by Rev. Kerry Greenhill | Sacred Stones MinistriesFrom Paragraph 305 in the 2012 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church (line…

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Sunday Reflection: Serving in Back

Written from a Roman Catholic perspective, not that different from the United Methodist Deacon.

Deacons Today: Servants in a Servant Church

This is a simple personalOrdination, March 25, 1990 reflection.  No big agenda, no big point to make.

I love being a deacon for many reasons.  But one of the things that is always a blessing is something I’ve been doing most of my adult life, even before being ordained a deacon: distributing Communion at Mass.  It is one of the most profound and moving experiences of ministry.

eucharistic ministerAt my current parish we have been encountering growing numbers of parishioners over the last couple of years, so much so that we’ve had to adapt our normal arrangements for communion to meet this need.  At our most highly attended Masses, after I distribute the Precious Blood to other communion ministers, I take a ciborium and head to our “cry room”.  Then I walk to the back of the Church and up the stairs to the choir loft, which is actually used for overflow seating (the…

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What It Means to be a Deacon

Rev. April Casperson spoke at the Methodist Theological School of Ohio in October 2013 about the ministry and role of the deacon. She has done a great job of explaining some of the differences between elders and deacons.

From her talk:

In the United Methodist Church, some people are called to ordination – a set-apart life of ministry and service. There are two orders within ordained clergy – elders and deacons.

Elders are ordained to Word, Order (the ordering of the Church), Sacrament and Service. Elders are primarily pastors; while elders can and do serve in extension ministries outside of the local church, an elder’s identity is rooted in the pastoral role, and being a pastor.

Deacons are ordained to Word, Service, Compassion and Justice. Deacons are not pastors – we are ministers. We can certainly be pastoral! But our identity is based in being a minister rather than being a pastor.

Deacons are called to specialized ministry. We have a specific area and skill in which we connect the people of God, the church and the world with compassion and justice. This is a challenge and an opportunity at the same time.

Read the complete article here.