The divine call is what our God uses to bring people into the public ministry. That might look like a few different things. I joke that God could’ve used a lightning bolt to tell me that should go to the Star of Bethlehem Lutheran Church here in North Carolina. That is what God did with the prophet Isaiah. We call that an immediate call because God isn’t working through anyone else to accomplish the divine call. God could also use individuals to appoint leaders, or elders, in a church. This is what Paul and Barnabas did in the ancient world. Finally, God can simply use God’s people to extend a divine call. This is what is normally done in our church body.
There are roughly 1400 clergy serving 1200 churches in our church body. Of those 1200 churches, unless the Conference of Presidents appoints a graduate from the seminary to fill a vacancy in May each year, they will be filled through the mediate divine calls. We already talked about an immediate call. A mediate call is through a group of Christians or an individual.
What does that look like? Graduates from our seminary being appointed to their first church looks an awful lot like the NFL draft. Pastor’s being called to a WELS church looks a little different.
First there is a pre-call meeting. At this meeting a representative from the Church body, most often a circuit pastor, asks the congregation what characteristics they would like to see in their new pastor. Is the focus going to be on worship? Maybe there is a special need for outreach to a different culture. From there the District President creates a call list for the congregation. The list is populated with qualified pastors who, in theory, fit the needs of the congregation. At a call meeting the congregation reviews the list, offers a prayer to God and picks one of the pastors from the list.
Want to hear more? …including what a pastor does when he is holding two divine calls? Watch this week’s Bible class and open forum on the Divine Call.
Please click HERE for the Bible class slides.