ANDERSON, S.C. (BP) -- A partnership of four Southern Baptist schools -- Anderson University, California Baptist University, Oklahoma Baptist University and Union University -- has launched the Call to Ministry Network in an initiative to identify and encourage Baptist young people who have sensed a divine call to ministry service.
In addition to the four educational institutions, LifeWay Christian Resources and the North American Mission Board have agreed to partner with the Call to Ministry Network. A major resource provided by the network is the website www.calltoministry.com, which will feature articles, books, testimonies and other tools to help young people better understand and grow in their own sense of calling. The network also will livestream conference events on the call to ministry.
The Call to Ministry Network was formally launched in a presentation during the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference in Dallas. Heath Thomas, dean of OBU's College of Theology and Ministry, recalled his own call to ministry along with that of his father and two brothers. Explaining the purpose of the Call to Ministry Network, Thomas said, "We believe it is imperative to elevate the call to ministry among our churches. Together, we will seek to increase the visibility of that sacred call to ministry within Southern Baptist life and to provide resources to help and to encourage those who have sensed such a call or are exploring a call."
Michael Duduit, dean of Anderson University's Clamp Divinity School, observed that, "Ministry is not an option or a personal choice. It is a divine calling. We are in vocational ministry because God has called us out and set us aside for His service. In recent years, however, the call to ministry is no longer so prominently promoted in our convention and in many of our churches. Yet for the health of our churches and our faith family as Southern Baptists, it is urgent that we again emphasize the importance of a call to ministry and to help the next generation as God calls them out to serve."
The first two events planned for the network include The Call conferences at OBU on Aug. 25 (https://skopos.org/thecall/) and at Anderson on Sept. 8 (http://callconference.org/). Additional information on network activities and resources is available at www.calltoministry.com.