Within the next 10 to 15 years, the Church of the Nazarene expects to see a growing gap between the number of clergy retiring and the number of newly ordained ministers in the U.S. and Canada.
In order to address this issue, the Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded MidAmerica Nazarene University a $600,000 grant to help locate, encourage, and begin training the next generation of ministry leaders through The Call, a summer theology institute.
The Call will identify and cultivate a cadre of theologically minded youth who will become leaders in churches across the U.S. High school juniors and seniors who are ready to take the next step in discovering how God is leading them toward vocational ministry are invited to apply and attend one of two identical events in June.
The weeklong camps, led by leaders, professors, and youth workers from across the Church of the Nazarene, costs $350. However, the grant funding allows youth to participate in this experience for only $95.
Ron Jackson, MNU professor of youth and family ministry, will direct the camps June 5 through 9 and June 12 through 16 on MNU’s campus.
Youth will spend the week:
- Discerning what a call to ministry means
- Training in Bible, theology, evangelism, and spiritual development
- Fellowshipping with 100 other like-minded peers
- Experiencing compassionate ministry
- Receiving mentorship from young adults who also feel a call to ministry
Shawn Evans, one of the event speakers, said mentoring was integral to his ministerial journey.
"The best thing that happened for me in developing my call into ministry was when a pastor took me by the arm and walked with me through the process,” said Evans, co-pastor at Valparaiso, Indiana, Church of the Nazarene. “He was pivotal in my development, maturity, and accountability. I am so thankful to be part of a team of practical technicians from around the country that will continue a legacy of walking with students on developing their call."
In order to help engage youth in this summer institute, Nazarene pastors and leaders are encouraged to:
- Identify junior or senior high school students who have a call to ministry or who their leaders feel have gifts for ministry
- Help teens fill out the application forms
- Begin to mentor these teens as future ministers in their own local ministry situation
The application deadline is April 15. For more information about speakers, the schedule, and to apply, visit mnuthecall.org.