I remember going through the candidacy process to become a pastor. In that time we were/are called as candidates for pastoral ministry to go through a deep discernment process that asks tough questions, and has a large group of people listening and walking with us. Ideally this process not only helps the candidate grow, but also provides awareness of our own rough edges, as well as a clarity of our direction for ministry.
I’ve often thought that it would be nice to develop the same level of discernment for every member in our own community. I mean after all why does the outcome have to be pastoral ministry to have a group of people surround you in love and help you become more aware of how Jesus is calling you to be an active child of God?
In many ways this is really what the church is all about. We are called to shepherd our community. Is this the pastors job? At times yes, pastors are a gift for this process, but to be truly effective we need everyone. As we awaken from our COVID pandemic slumber and begin to come together again my wish is this: that each of us can pray/discern/discuss our own hopes, dreams and direction, and find a few people within our faith community to help us on this journey. The good shepherd is Jesus, but collectively the Holy Spirit is at work in all of us. I think we would be doing well if we could help each other too, just at our own journeys.
Who can you be a gift to in their journey of faith? Who can be a gift to you?