One of my responsibilities involves working with people preparing to do professional ministry as pastors, chaplains, teachers, and community organizers. We talk with them about vocation, theology, and practical ministry. It’s often nerve-wracking for them – and for us – but what we are looking for includes The Spark.
We want our candidates to light up when they talk about serving God’s people.
What we never want to see: rolled eyes, lifelessness, indifference, smugness, haughtiness. No one is authentically hyped about every aspect of ministry/life, but if you really want to express the reality that God is calling you to something priestly, we need to see a glint of Holy Light.
For some people, it happens when they talk about preaching. For others, it’s pastoral care. Some love, love, love conflict resolution. Others wake up pumped to teach people who are hungry to learn.
You can’t fake this kind of thing. (If you try, we will notice.) The Spark is not something we learn in seminary. It’s not something anyone but God can give us.
What makes your face light up, in terms of the work you do – whether you work in a church setting or in a post office (or pharmacy, coffee shop, nursery school, laundry, etc.)? Sadly, there are too many pastors who – for various reasons – no longer light up. What about you?
Note: 27 years ago today, I met the guy who still makes my face light up.