EXPLORATION an opportunity to explore God's call

4/1/2009

The Memphis Conference Board of Ordained Ministry is fully supporting EXPLORATION 2009 which is scheduled for Nov. 13-15 in Dallas, Texas. EXPLORATION addresses The United Methodist Church’s need for young clergy by offering youth and young adults who feel God’s call a chance to explore that call.

The Memphis Conference will be coordinating an effort to provide transportation and publicity. A recent report noted that over 70% of our current active clergy will be eligible to retire by 2013. That’s right! Just four years from now. An EXPLORATION Task Force will be meeting soon to hammer out the details. In the meantime, pencil this event into the consciousness of the young men and women who may be hearing a call to ministry in your community.
 
“Today more than ever, the denomination needs to sponsor events that invite, train, and support young people as they answer their call to ordained ministry,” said the Rev. Meg Lassiat, director of Student Ministries, Vocation, and Enlistment at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, which sponsors EXPLORATION.
 
“In the past three years, we have seen a growth in the numbers and percentage of young adult clergy in the UMC. Last fall, The Lewis Center for Church Leadership released the 2008 Clergy Age Trends Report that shows for the first time this century the percentage of young elders has risen to greater than 5 percent. The report said the percentage of young adult elders was 5.21 percent and the percentage of young adult deacons had risen to 7.69 percent,” Lassiat said.
 
“These statistics show a positive trend since this data was first reported in 2005, and the increase helps to demonstrate the importance of events and ministries that encourage youth and young adults to consider ordained ministry as a profession,” Lassiat said.
 
The national event is for high school seniors through young adults aged 24 who are considering a call to ordained ministry as a deacon or elder in The United Methodist Church.
 
 “By attending EXPLORATION, youth and young adults will have the opportunity to explore a variety of ways to serve in ordained ministry,” Lassiat said.
 
She added that efforts are being made to communicate regularly with annual conferences so clergy and other leaders will have the opportunity to support their young people and encourage them in their discernment for ministry.
 
The Rev. Tyrone Gordon, Dr. William B. Lawrence, Bishop Sally Dyck, and the Rev. Motoe Yamada will be the keynote speakers for the event. Participants will also have the chance to talk with admissions staff from the 13 United Methodist schools of theology, attend workshops, and take part in small group discussions. 
 
For more information, or to register for EXPLORATION, please visit www.gbhem.org/exploration or www.explorecalling.org.
 
For more information on local plans to attend EXPLORATION, contact Dr. David Comperry, revdcomperry@ comcast.net or Rev. Gary D. Lawson, Sr., gary@lakeshore uma.com