From the President – Are You Praying?
A quick, but important question: Have you started praying yet for next year’s LTSP students?
I ask because this past weekend we had 30 or so folks on campus exploring their sense of call to leadership in the church and to the possibility of enrolling as students at LTSP. And it occurred to me what a momentous time of discernment they are in. Each feels God’s call. Each can look back and trace elements of the spiritual journey that has led them this far. Each can name those persons who have shaped, and encourage them in their faith. And now each is trying to be faithful to where God will lead them next.
And given the important and challenging work of discernment they are doing, it seems to me that we should be praying for them. “We” as in all of us. Not just those of us who are regularly here on campus, but all of us. Because everyone one of us has a stake in the development and formation of the church’s future leaders. Which is why I think we all should be praying for a whole new generation of leaders that God is raising up to be pastors and directors of Christian education and youth leaders and advocates and administrators and teachers and more.
I believe strongly that even now God is preparing women and men to assume leadership in the church and beyond it to give witness to the hope that is ours in Christ. And I believe that we should be helping their formation and discernment through prayer – our personal prayers and our congregational prayer. And I believe that there are other things we can do to help nurture this new generation of Christians as well.
If we are in leadership now, we can talk about why we are here, about what we love and about what we find challenging. Because if this new generation can’t imagine what a pastor or other church leader does, it will be a lot harder for them to imagine themselves playing that role.
And whether we are in a leadership role or not, we can all identify people with gifts for ministry and leadership and encourage them to explore their vocation. But more than just encourage them, we can actively help them in their discernment, offering time to talk over their sense of call, visiting a seminary with them, accompanying them on their journey.
In these and so many ways, God will work through us to participate in raising up and training the next generation of the Church’s leaders. We are at such a critical time in the church’s life and witness in this country. So much in our culture has changed, and the pace of change won’t diminish any time soon. Which means we need people who love the Lord and love to learn, grow, and change. I believe that we met with 30 or so folks just like that this weekend. I’ll be praying for them over the next days and months, and I hope you will be as well.
Thank you for your support of these leaders and for the mission we share.
Yours in Christ,