After a year on the Stepney Internship Programme, Laura Macfarlane has recently started work at CTC – co-ordinating our Vocations Project. Below, she introduces her work, including plans for an Emerging Leaders’ Weekend (book here) …
How can we discern God’s plan for our lives in the context of today’s society?
This is a question that many of us find ourselves asking at every stage of our lives. Education encourages us to make as much money and have as much career success as possible. Society often forces us to take whatever job we can find in order to thrive, or just to survive. Even churches can too often focus on the importance of full-time ministry or, at the very least, paid work which is traditionally considered to be a way to serve God and others. While these ministry roles are important, we believe that each of us best serves God by discerning the vocation that God has for us, whatever that many be!
At the Vocations Project, we believe that vocation is about so much more than the paid work that we do or the ministry that we take part in. Rather, vocation is what connects our deepest selves, who God has created us to be, to what we do in all areas of our lives. Vocation inspires us to explore who God has created us to be and, through that, to discover how we can live and work in a way that is most in accordance with our created selves, be that in our church, our career, our home or our private lives. Understanding our vocation may mean a change of career but, most importantly, it means living out our God-given gifts and desires in the situations in which we find ourselves. It means becoming connected to the lives that we live as deeply as we can in order to find fulfilment, and to realise God’s Kingdom, in every part of what we do.
This definition of vocation took a long time to discover and develop. In Summer 2016, I took part in the Summer Internship with the Centre for Theology and Community, the theme of which was vocation. Myself and other participants on the internship found that we were being encouraged to think about vocation in a way that we never had before; a way that put being before doing and individuals before career. From that time of learning, the vocation project was born.
The Project has now been established as a part of the life of CTC. Our mission is to work with Christian institutions in East London and beyond to help create space for everyone to discern their vocation with the help of a community of individuals and with God. We are committed to prayer and reflection, to conversations and to action to support individuals in their personal vocational journey. Over the past two years we have led sessions and events in institutions, put together resources and written a detailed report on vocation in our society, which will be available soon through CTC.
There are many ways to get involved in the project, as an institution or an individual. Whether its an event in your institution, providing resources or organising 121s with individuals looking to discern, we would love to get to know and to serve you. We also have a residential “Emerging Leaders” weekend approaching for 18-30 year olds looking to explore their God-given vocation, whatever that may be!
If you are interested in finding out more about any part of the Project, either book a place here on December’s Emerging Leaders’ Weekend or Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to request information or to arrange a 121 chat about what the project can do for you. We can’t wait to see how the project will grow!