FLEX ToolboxFaith & Leadership Experience
FLEX is designed to help young adults discern, strengthen and implement God’s call in their life to transform the world.
Read this first: “Go with God” is an open letter to young Christians on their way (or already in) college. It is written by Duke University professor Stanley Hauerwas. A world renown Christian ethicists, he was named “America’s Best Theologian” by Time Magazine.
Ask the Question A United Church of Christ site created to assist people in considering the question of vocation to various types of ministry. Stories of call, images for meditation, prayers, essays, information, and advice.
Hear God’s Call. Questions you should ask when you are discerning a call into the ministry. A resource from the Episcopal Church.
The Career Key: Short test also using the RIASEC model. Provides links to more detailed information on suggested occupations.
DISC: The DISC assessment is a behavior assessment tool based on four different personality traits.
Finding Your Spiritual Gifts Self-Assessment Developed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, this site may be helpful for those who seek to discern a vocational direction through the lens of Christian faith.
Spiritual Gifts Assessment. A longer, perhaps more detailed spiritual gifts assessment tool than the ELCA one mentioned above.
MBTI: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test that measures how people perceive the world and make decisions.
Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential (MAPP): Free Career Analysis test seeks to reveal your motivations for work, learning styles, and work preferences, and matches you with top vocational areas.
Occupational Information Network (O*NET) Analyzes skills as they relate to potential fields. This site is also a good resource for researching careers.
The Princeton Review Career Quiz: Short test of 24 questions that seeks to identify both your interests and your preferred working style, and suggests career choices based on the results.
Cooperative Christian Ministry (this ministry) offers two specialized internships for those who may be discerning a call. It is part of a special Young Clergy Initiative program in partnership with High Point University and the Wesley Foundation at Appalachian State University. We also have placements available as part of our Lilly funded grant program.
Episcopal Charities and Community Services supports and strengthens its ministry partners, congregational outreach programs, and other faith-based ministries of Christian service that offer hope to all people in the Diocese of Chicago. It is the home of the prestigious Julian Year Program.
The Episcopal Service Corps develops and supports a national network of intentional communities in the Episcopal Church.
Episcopal Seminaries. The Episcopal Church has 11 seminaries across the United States. Most notably is the Virginia Theological Seminary outside of Washington, DC.
Lutheran Seminaries. The ELCA has 8 seminaries across the United States. The closest Lutheran seminary to Charlotte is Lutheran Southern in Columbia, SC.
Presbyterian Seminaries. The PCUSA has 12 seminaries across the United States and Puerto Rico. Most notably are the Princeton Theological Seminary and Columbia Seminary outside of Atlanta.
United Methodist Seminaries. The United Methodist Church has 4 seminaries and 10 graduate schools of theology. Most notably is Duke University, the #1 ranked seminary in the nation. Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and Perkins at Southern Methodist are also top tier schools.
Other notable seminaries and graduate schools of theology:
- Harvard University – Harvard Divinity School
- Yale University – Yale Divinity School
- University of Chicago – The Divinity School
- Fuller Theological Seminary
- Union Theological Seminary
- Vanderbilt – The Divinity School
- Trinity College – The University of Toronto
- Montreal School of Theology – McGill University
- Wycliffe Hall – Oxford University
- Cambridge University
- Durham University (England)
There are thousands of seminaries across the United States and beyond. Not all schools are the same. Above all else make sure your choice schools are accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (USA only).
For complete information about the Episcopal ordination process, visit the Episcopal Diocese of New York’s webpage about postulancy for ordination. This diocese seems to have the best descriptions of the process which can be applied in the Diocese of North Carolina. The Episcopal Church ordains to both the diaconate and the priesthood through a multi-year ordination process. While the roles of these two ordained ministries are distinct, they share certain core requirements and responsibilities. Both require consultative, educational, spiritual and vocational commitments from the individual seeking ordination. The diaconate refers to deacons.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Like Episcopalians and United Methodists, the Lutheran Church is governed by an “episcopal” polity. This means that ordained clergy persons, under the supervisor of bishops, are responsible for the governance of the church, including the ordination process, acceptance and guidance of those sensing a call, and ultimate direction regarding vocation for those individuals. For more detail about the ELCA ordination process for both pastors and diaconal ministers, visit this website to review their candidacy process.
Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Presbyterian Church (USA) ordains individuals as “Teaching Elders,” formerly known as Ministers of Word and Sacrament. Those who sense a call to ministry in the PCUSA must be active members of a congregation for at least six months prior to entering the process. The first step will be to complete the initial paper work requesting approval to become an inquirer and to meet with the ruling elders (the session) of his or her congregation who will determine whether to recommend the individual to be taken “under care” of the congregation and its presbytery. Each presbytery determines the specific requirements for its inquirers and candidates within overall guidelines.
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is governed by an “episcopal” polity. The United Methodist ordination process is organized in six steps that delineate the progression of the candidate. Once a person is approved to begin the process, she or he is considered a candidate for ministry. For details about the requirements of each step of this process, as well as an outline of the initial phases of ordained ministry. There are three choices: Elders, deacons or local pastors. For more information on this process visit the church’s General Board. Also visit IsGodCallingMe the web resource for the Western NC Conference of the United Methodist Church.
More About Deacons
The word deacon derives from the Greek Diakonos meaning servant or minister and the biblical concept of diakonia is commonly defined as service, particularly to the poor, sick, and oppressed. A deacon has one foot in the world and one foot in the church. Deacons are unique in that they may apply different fields of study toward their ministry vocation. Examples of deacons include:
- Hospital Chaplain
- Military Chaplain (all five branches + Reserve and Guard)
- Police or Fire Chaplain
- Music Minister
- Youth Minister
- Counselor or Pyschologist
- Teacher or Professor
- General Missionary
- Missionary Engineer or Architect
- Medical Missionary (Doctor, Nurse, Dentist, Physical Therapist, Pharmacist, Dietician, etc.)
- Parish Nurse
- Non Profit Executive
- Denominational or Church Accountant, Finance Officer or Marketing Consultant
- Lawyer (advocate for the oppressed or church counsel)
- Denominational or Church Software developer or computer scientist