Living like Hannah and Eli

5/2/2006

“Eli perceived that God was calling the boy. . ." — I Samuel 3:8

Hannah offered her son Samuel to God, leaving him in the care of Eli the priest, visiting and praying and supporting her son as he was called forth into ministry. It is good to live like Hannah and Eli.

It is the joy and the challenge of the church to offer continually the invitation toward ministry, to make clear the process toward ministry, to support those called forth by God. The Hannah Project of the Mississippi Conference invites local churches to give attention to enlisting of young people for the ministry of Jesus Christ. Vital churches enlist strong candidates for ordained ministry.

The staff parish committee of the church I last served asked me if I would preach a sermon on the call to ministry, clarifying for the congregation the path toward ordained ministry. I acknowledge before you all that I had to be asked by the laity to fulfill a primary responsibility of the church — to offer clear invitation toward ordained ministry. These wise laity asked me to also offer a discussion time on the topic of the call and path toward ordained ministry. Twenty-five people, ranging in age from 13 to 62, showed up. It was a glorious Sunday of lifting up the call to ministry.

It is our high privilege to make clear the call of God.

I look forward to gathering with youth, young adults and adults who are discerning a call to ministry for The Calling at 9 a.m. May 20 at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson. Send forth the invitation for this event in your congregation. Live as a Hannah Project congregation — observing Ministry Sunday, supporting seminary students, adopting a seminary student, sponsoring an exploration of ministry event, and naming ministerial recruiters. Let us live like Hannah and perceive like Eli, for God is calling.