Holston has more young pastors than most conferences in the United Methodist Church. According to the Lewis Center Report on Clergy Age Trends, Holston is fourth in the denomination with 9.5 percent of elders under 35, just behind Mississippi, Louisiana, and Central Texas.
Following the month's Resurrection spiritual event, Holston may soon have 454 more young people serving Christ.
During Sunday morning worship for both Resurrection weekends, participants were invited to fill out a "call to ministry" card. On the weekends of Jan. 14-16 and Jan. 21-23, more than 400 of the 11,700 total participants at Resurrection answered the invitation by standing to accept and fill out a card with contact information.
In February, Holston's youth ministry office will contact the pastors and district superintendents for each of these young people, requesting clergy to make personal follow-up calls or visits.
The 454 youth will also receive invitations to attend Discovery, Holston's call to ministry event on April 1-3 at Camp Wesley Woods in Townsend, Tenn.
Discovery "gives students an opportunity to explore their calling alongside their peers," said Laura Lambert, associate director of connectional ministries for youth and young adults. They'll learn about different ways to be in ministry as pastors, lay workers, or missionaries.
"Youth will be in discussion groups with others who are feeling the call to ministry and these groups will be led by adults who work in various types of ministries," she said. On Sunday, Bishop James Swanson will speak to participants and celebrate Holy Communion.
"Our hope is that the district superintendents, pastors, and church families of these students who indicated feeling called into ministry will support the students and help guide them as they explore their calling," Lambert said.
"Often youth feel uncertain and sometimes uneasy about their call, and it is helpful for them to have a group of supportive adults who can help the youth in their journeys."
- "Discovery! Pass it on" (The Call, June 3, 2005 - PDF)
- "Explore Calling" (General Board of Higher Education and Ministry)