A collection of personal stories about the call to ordained ministry, Beyond the Burning Bush: Hearing and Answering God's Call, is meant to help young people who are exploring God's call, to discern their own response and vocation.
"The idea for a book that collected the personal stories of elders, deacons, seminarians, chaplains, campus ministers, and college students grew out of EXPLORATION 2006, when many young people at the event talked about how important hearing the personal stories of the speakers had been," said the Rev. Meg Lassiat, director of Student Ministries, Vocation, and Enlistment at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. "I am pleased that this new book will be available at EXPLORATION 2009."
Lassiat and the Rev. Sharon Rubey, GBHEM's director of Candidacy and Conference Relations, edited the book with Vicki Brown, associate editor and writer in GBHEM's Office of Interpretation.
"Young people often wonder if God's call must be a 'burning bush experience,' or a clear call like that of Samuel. These stories make it clear that God calls us to ordained ministry in many and varied ways," Rubey said.
The book contains 28 stories from diverse corners of The United Methodist Church, along with a foreword by Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño which tells her own call story. In addition, there is helpful information about how to respond to God's call through The United Methodist Church.
"The stories in this book come from leaders who could be investing their lives in a multitude of arenas, but have chosen the church," said Lovett H. Weems, Jr., distinguished professor of Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary and co-author, with Ann A. Michel, of The Crisis of Younger Clergy (Abingdon, 2008).
Myron F. McCoy, president of Saint Paul School of Theology, in Kansas City, Missouri, said the book is a wonderful compilation of distinct, contemporary, compelling, and convicting stories.
"In light of all we hear about the declining influence of the church and its relevancy for this generation, and even the disinterest of younger generations, one will no doubt receive a fresh dose of overflowing encouragement in reading these pages. One may even discover a renewed or new confidence to participate in the creative, redemptive, and eternal 'new thing' God is ever doing," McCoy said.
Published by GBHEM, Beyond the Burning Bush: Hearing and Answering God's Call, ISBN 978-0-938162-81-0, is available for $14.95 through Cokesbury at 800.672.1789 - or online at www.cokesbury.com.