kaleo/kal-eh’-o/ [from Greek meaning call, summons, invitation]
I don’t want to let 2013 go without a word of gratitude for the kaleo event this fall. This is the program formerly known as Culture of Calling whose purpose is to help young people and their adult leaders understand and experience God’s call.
It’s a new venture for Central, one of the ways we have found to provide theological education directly to the church, and not just to those who mark the box labeled “clergy.”
Calling, or vocation, is one of the core experiences of a life of faith for everyone but many of us struggle to know and follow our life’s purpose and churches often lack resources to help. In challenging the seminary to support the church in its calling to call forth God’s gift in God’s people, President Molly Marshall reminded us that
- God has more to say to us than we can hear ourselves
- God calls each of us – into life, into faith, into purposeful living
- God calls youth, but the world makes it hard to hear.
So, working with a dynamic, ecumenical team of church leaders, we invited and they came. The seminary chapel overflowed with lively young people from metro area churches and their adult leaders, most of them volunteers without formal theological education.
A lot happened in one day. We worshipped, we taught the concept of calling and we sent the kids out to practice what we were preaching since calling is never just an intellectual exercise but something embodied and acted upon. In this case, they applied rakes and paintbrushes to projects in two urban ministry locations where they met and observed other faithful leaders living out their calls.
The adults, meanwhile, stayed on campus and applied themselves to training on healthy boundaries and challenges of technology in youth ministry. I was inspired by their commitment, eagerness to learn, and deep care for the young people entrusted to them.
Many of them, like me, could only dimly remember what it was like to be a youth themselves, a time so long ago that McDonald’s was only getting started and we were still using typewriters, not even the plugged-in kind.
But one of our younger facilitators assured us that it isn’t the age on the page that matters. Barely over 30, he is often the oldest in the room at some youth minister events. What really matters is that God’s beloved daughters and sons are walking this journey of faith together, becoming God’s presence and word to one another. What really counts are gifts that actually get better with age: wisdom, humor, hope, experience. And so it was a moment of epiphany and delight when one gray-haired leader summed up the day by declaring, “I learned that you don’t have to be young to do youth ministry!”
When God - who is not famous for being a respecter of age or any other barrier – calls to serve, the correct answer is YES!
You and your youth are invited to the next kaleo day – Saturday, April 26. Watch the website for details or contact me to get on the mailing list.