You Are Here: Locating Your Call Through Bible Study
I’ve been asked many times how I arrived “here” at this place in my life. How did I start serving as an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church? Through many twists and turns, God kept nudging, prodding, pleading. One of the twists took me down the path of Disciple Bible Study. During this life-transforming study, my experience with the Bible opened my eyes to God’s work through the messiness of human lives. The messiness of scripture spoke to me in true, life-giving ways. If God used David after all that David said and did and experienced, God can and will use my messiness.
The fellowship of the men and women gathered in that experience week after week woke in me a new vision for who God created me to be. During one of our discussions, another participant said that she saw the gift of prophecy in me. She went on to say that I had the ability to talk about God and God’s word in ways that could influence people. “Me? Really, me?” This seed of God’s call to proclaim the word began in an in-depth Bible study group, and with it, a new identity began to grow. My childhood church nurtured the call within me, and an in-depth Bible study gave me the confidence to speak out loud this internal compulsion toward ministry. We spoke of many things during those evenings in the church lounge, especially about God, faith, and our human condition. Most of all, we spoke of our connection and response to God’s living word that has the power to transform lives if only we dare to dig in. Fifteen years later, this same Disciple Bible Study group still studies God’s living word—minus me, as I am now serving “here” as an elder in The United Methodist Church.
Bible study offers opportunities for folks to dig in to the messiness of scripture to connect with God’s transforming Spirit, which is alive within the stories of ordinary people called by God. In the pages of the Bible we find good news that God is active in the lives of those who “get it” and those who are still seeking. When we share this journey in fellowship with each other, each at a different place on the journey, we learn and grow in new life-giving ways. We have the opportunity to find aid on our journey, and we give aid to others. Who knows? The woman sitting next to you during an in-depth study might be another pastor in the making.
Lives are transformed and forever changed when God’s word enters in, claiming space in our hearts. It reminds us of God’s good news, alive in Jesus Christ, that calls each of us to uncover the image of the holy one within us.
Where are you going? Where have you been? How will you and those you serve get to the call that awaits your unique gifts and graces—to your “here”? In the deep study of God’s word, there’s a place to find the answers we are seeking. There’s a time to dream about who God is calling us to be.