Reflections on Affirming your Call with Others by the Rev. Joel Hatfield 

Sharing my call to ordained ministry with others, was a vital component in confirming that calling. The confirmation I received all along the journey was an essential factor that helped to sustain me through the difficult challenges that are a normal part of pursuing Holy Orders.

Of course, the person closest to me, my wife, was the first sounding point in sharing my call. Fortunately, this did not surprise her at all, because she indeed knows me best. Over time, I began to branch out and hesitantly share that call with a couple of priests from different churches whom I had gotten to know well. They too confirmed that God indeed mightbe calling me and they provided insight on how to test that calling over time. Sharing that calling outside my family and members of the clergy was perhaps the most affirming. One specific instance that comes to mind was a lunch on the way home from a spiritual retreat, where I shared with a small group, my belief that I was being called to the priesthood. Their response was, “we can definitely see you as a priest.” No laughter, no third-degree, nothing negative; only affirmation. This was perhaps the moment in which I understood that this calling thing was real, and not something that existed in my own head! I have always been a person who approaches life with the “open door” method; meaning I keep walking through the open doors until I reach one that is closed. The responses I received when sharing my call with others, I believe, were the little keys of life that kept opening the doors.

The Commission on Ministry offers this six-week program to help participants discern their call to serve God's Kingdom. Each week includes a theme, and each day offers a prayer, reflection, and journal entry assignment to aid vocation discernment for laity. The program's principal book is Gordon Smith's, "Consider Your Calling, Six Questions for Discerning Your Vocation."