A Moment for Mission
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run the race with perseverance the race that is set before us."
– Hebrews 12:1
We rely on ministers to offer words of comfort in difficult times and provide leadership in our personal journeys of discipleship as well as in the administrative work of running a church. Our ministers help deepen our understanding of scripture, and inspire us in their preaching. Our ministers carry hope as they visit with us in homes and hospitals. Some of our ministers are ordained as elders or deacons, some are certified lay servants, some are local pastors, and some are just beginning to pursue a calling toward local church ministry. While each call is unique, it is not a journey that one must take alone. In fact, the local church walks alongside those who have heard the call and decided to take action. It does not end with the local church; there are steps along the way bringing district and conference support.
Some of this support might include the use of Ministerial Education Funds. These funds are used for student scholarships, continuing education for clergy or clergy care. Ministerial Education Funds as well as are also used to support our 13 United Methodist seminaries.
The United Methodist Church is able to equip and support those who are first hearing their call to ministry and continues supporting them throughout their ministry, which is made possible through generous giving toward our apportionments.
O, Good Shepherd, guide those who guide us as we seek the way that leads to life. Fill them with peace in the midst of strife and support in moments they might feel that they are alone. Let us be a church that cares for those who care for us. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Shepherd of Israel, you faithfully lead your people throughout the world. We praise you for your tireless acts of salvation, even when we have turned away from your crook. By your grace, O God, nurture and strengthen your flock wherever they gather. Make us bold witnesses of Christ, your Son, whose light and truth reflect your love. We dedicate our offerings and ourselves to your service, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd. Amen. (Psalm 80)
Much has happened over the last 25 years. Just consider the advancements in technology and the ways we communicate. Twenty-five is also the average number of years a pastor serves in local church ministry. During those years the world changes and those serving in professional ministry change as they grow and experience both life's great joy and heartache — all a part of the earthly journey we all must walk. Clergy are not only navigating their own personal journey, they are also coming alongside those they serve to offer encouragement, hope and the love of Christ.
The United Methodist Church is committed to supporting clergy as they travel through this delicate balance of life and service. One of the ways we do this is through our Ministerial Education Fund. Our giving to our apportionments goes toward this fund and provides assistance with obtaining an education that prepares clergy for ministry and in continuing education in the midst of ministry. This fund also supports clergy care and our 13 United Methodist Seminaries.