Presbyterians Today

AUG-SEP 2018

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34 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay declining, but maybe not his mind and tongue. Eli clearly recognizes, in the end, that God was doing a new thing with a new leader for a new time and a new generation embodied by this boy under his care, Samuel. Musengwa planned to become a Christian educator with no plans to become a pastor. He accepted a call to Vernon Presbyterian Church in Big Bend, Wisconsin, where the late Rev. Dr. Roger Patton encouraged him to finish his seminary education and become a pastor. Patton was the pastor of the church, and Musengwa was the director of Christian education. "My excuse was I didn't finish my Hebrew," Musengwa said. "Roger we discern what God wants us to do with our lives. All that we have, including our lives, is entrusted to the care of the community most often embodied in congregations. I'll never forget a college student in the first congregation I served. He began the process of discerning a call to ministry as what we call an "inquirer" by meeting with me and then our session. Later he would meet with the presbytery. The new inquirer asked the session for their support in finding out how to use his gifts best as a person of faith to make a positive difference in the church and the world. He trusted me, and he trusted them. After the meeting, the newly rec- ommended inquirer and I privately debriefed the session meeting in the church parking lot. Feeling truly supported, the inquirer suggested, "Wouldn't it be great if every youth at our church had the support I am getting?" With a lump in my throat, I managed to whisper back, "Wouldn't it be great." Seminaries are partners, too Our seminaries stand ready to prepare those with gifts for ministry for service in the church. We don't have to wait to enroll or send someone to seminary to partner with them. The admissions staff serve as gifted members of a dis- cernment team. Don't wait until you or someone you know is called to seminary to contact one or more admission officers. I wonder who in your congregation will play a role in encouraging someone called to heed the still, small voice they may hear, much as Heath Rada did with Musengwa years ago. In fact, maybe the boy Samuel wasn't mistaken when he heard a voice calling his name three times, the voice that he believed to be elder priest Eli in 1 Samuel 3. Maybe God was speaking through Eli. The text tells us that Eli's eyes and ears were A MENTORING EXERCISE Ask youth, "How would the people who know you best describe you?" After everyone has shared, give thanks for the ways each of them is contributing to the world. As a closing, ask the group, "Who would be the best person to offer our closing prayer?" Invite them to pray. Afterward, take a few moments to check in with that person who prayed. Ask them if they've ever thought they might be called to ministry. In many cases, their eyes light up and they say yes. Engage them in a deeper conversation. By starting the conversation, the gifts for ministry are being seen and affirmed. COURTESY OF LEE HINSON-HASTY As the Rev. Bobby Musengwa leads his flock, he keeps his eyes open to those who are being called to ministry. He takes notice of the gifts in others and nurtures those gifts, just as he was once nurtured.

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