Congregations and communities need gifted leaders. Congregations can work together to help identify and support future leaders by taking action to "notice, name and nurture" young members in their calling - what we call "VocationCARE." It consists of communal practices in which all Christians grow together into a life "worthy of the calling to which we have been called together with one another" (Ephesians 4:2).
VocationCARE helps individuals and communities discern their call. We think this practice is dynamite if you want to stir up or rekindle in a community that urgent longing to actively participate in Christ’s redeeming purpose in the world.
When you practice VocationCARE you tap into a deep collective heart force that we call leadership. Its Source is within us. The VocationCARE practice provides a framework for taking deep dives into that zone regularly as a community. This is a clarifying, unifying, and fortifying experience for those engaged in discernment.
These practices are unique in each church, tradition and context. And yet, there are observable disciplines that can be named as four core congregational VocationCARE practices. The acronym CARE stands for:
C - Create space to explore Christian vocation together;
A - Ask self-awakening questions together;
R - Reflect theologically on self and community; and
E - Enact the next faithful step.
Together we listen for the “sound of the genuine,” a term coined by Howard Thurman, the social mystic theologian who heavily influenced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As we do these practices we always seem to find that the sound of the genuine is both within us and shared between us. For us at FTE, we are also finding the more we practice this together the deeper our commitment to justice becomes.
Which leads to action. Once we’ve made the deep dives, displayed to each other in a safe space what we’ve seen and heard, it’s time to figure out what we are being led to do and how we are going to do it.
VocationCARE not only provides a framework for continuously discerning the future that is trying to emerge through us. It also leads groups through a step-by-step process for brainstorming, and creating blueprints for how we will incarnate a future that is different from the past.