Through the Renewal and Reform programme, the whole Church has been striving to grow vocations to ministry.
Over the past two years the number selected to train for ordination has increased by over 22%, with a 55% increase in young people, and women now accounting for just over half of new ordinands. It is a wonderful sign that the seeds of growth we have all prayed for and worked towards are bearing fruit.
Find out more about the theology of vocation.
Vocations good practice
Our good practice guide covers three major initiatives to grow vocations, all flowing from ideas sourced from dioceses.
We asked dioceses what one thing would make the most difference in fostering a culture of vocation. The answer: personal conversations. The Great Vocations Conversation is our challenge to all the Church’s ministers to commit to having at least one conversation a month about vocation with someone different from themselves.
We asked dioceses what one thing we could do nationally to support what is happening locally. The answer: putting dioceses in contact with those engaging with national advertising. Our online sign up feature allows us to turn the interest shown in this content into fruitful relationships with explorers.
We asked dioceses how we could best support the Ministry Experience Scheme. The answer: better coordination of recruitment, funding and quality assurance. Appointing a Development Manager has enabled the scheme to grow dramatically.
Underpinning all our work is the opportunity to reach out to those who have been historically underrepresented, whether because of gender, class, or ethnicity.
Part four of this guide brings together good practice from Vocations Champions across the country on how to be deliberately inclusive in our work.
By continuing to share examples of what works, we’re confident that together we’ll be able to support more Christians to discover God’s call upon their lives, and empower them to have the confidence and ability to answer it.
The Ministry Experience Scheme
The Ministry Experience Scheme offers a year placement in churches around the country for young adults (aged 18-30) to test God’s call, whatever that may be.
The scheme offers practical experience, theological learning, and an abundance of opportunities for personal reflection and growth.
"Whatever you were exploring, there was an opportunity to see lots of different types of ministry at play. It’s influence on my discernment was huge.”
Vanessa Hadley (Ministry Experience Scheme alumnus 2016/17)
Supported by Allchurches Trust, the Ministry Experience Scheme offers placements in churches around the country for young adults to test God’s call. Potential applicants are able to get in touch with the relevant coordinator in their diocese directly as part of our resources for explorers.
We would encourage all dioceses to get involved. To find out more, read our best practice guide for new and existing schemes.
We’re training a network of volunteer mentors to support Christians of black, Asian, or minority ethnic heritage (BAME), whose role it will be to walk alongside a potential candidate, as a thinking and knowledgeable friend, as they journey towards ordination.
Mentors are separate to the formal selection process. They are not able to interfere with the decisions of bishops, diocesan directors of ordinands, selection secretaries, bishops' advisory panel advisers, theological education institution staff, or anyone else formally part of the selection and formation process. What they can do though is provide reassurance and encouragement through practical guidance and emotional support.
Our research has found that having a mentor is especially useful in encouraging, supporting, and enhancing inclusivity for underrepresented groups.
Why not encourage those with formal or informal mentoring experience to contact us about being an ordained vocations mentor?
This project is still in development but anyone interested in having a mentor can already sign up here.
"Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.1 Corinthians 1.26-31
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.
He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’"