Discernment Column

Listen, God is Calling

The Rev. Jeff Morlock

The Bible is overflowing with stories about God’s call.

God called Noah to build an ark. God called an elderly Abraham and Sarah to leave their home and begin a nation. God called young Samuel out of a deep sleep and Esther “for such a time as this.” God called a reluctant prophet named Jonah to save a nation and a teenager named Mary to give birth to the Savior of the nations. God called Peter to be a rock upon which the Church could be built and Paul, the persecutor, to be an emissary of grace.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”

— Genesis 17: 1-2 (ESV)

Martin Luther taught us that God claims each of us in Holy Baptism and gives us a life mission that will bless others and contribute to human flourishing. To recognize our baptismal calling is what we mean by vocational discernment. It’s a process of listening to the Spirit of God through the Word of Scripture and the community of the church. Specifically, God calls some people as ordained ministers, and it is this vocation that is in urgent demand right now in the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).

In this regard, I look forward to Thursday, April 18, 2030. This day will mark a full decade from the establishment of a goal to raise up 300 new pastors in the next 10 years as part of the NALC’s 2020 Vision. It will be a great day of celebration and gratitude to the Lord for His faithfulness in making the goal a reality! But how will this happen?

Somewhere in our congregations right now an infant was just baptized who has a call from God to ordained ministry.

Somewhere in our congregations right now there’s a fourth grader who has a call from God to ordained ministry, and they are the troublemaker in Mrs. So-And-So’s Sunday school class.

Somewhere in our congregations right now, an eighth grader has just been confirmed who has a call to ordained ministry, and they complain to their parents that, “church is boring.”

Somewhere in our congregations right now there is a high schooler who is preparing to go on a weekend retreat that will change their life forever, as faith will come alive and God’s call to ordained ministry will be affirmed.

Somewhere in our congregations right now there is a college student or career person who has a call to ordained ministry, but is questioning it, or running from it to pursue a different path.

I know that these people exist, because each of them was me at different times in my life.

When you read the above statements, did they resonate with you personally? If so, you may have a call from God to Word and Sacrament ministry. Did it make you think of someone you know who is discerning, or should be discerning a call to ordained ministry?

We will reach our goal of 300 new pastors by 2030 as you, along with every disciple in our congregations becomes an NALS prayer partner, asking the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest (Matthew 9:38). We will reach our goal as you and others answer the call to become student recruitment ambassadors, asking the Lord to give you eyes to see whom He may be raising up for such a time as this.

“Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

— Matthew 9:28 (ESV)

The Rev. Jeff Morlock
Director of Vocational Discernment

[email protected]

Discerning your Call?

If you have ever thought about becoming a pastor, or if others have told you that you have gifts for ordained ministry in the church, contact Jeff or learn more by clicking on the link below!