My call into ordained ministry was definitely a process. After a few years ministering in Albania together with my husband and family I was back in the UK and God spoke to me in a very clear and (for me) unusual way about going to Bible college. This wasn’t even on my radar at the time – however, I went and while I was there I felt an increasing sense of call into becoming a minister. It took a couple of years for me to do anything about it or speak to anyone – I think because I found it hard to believe God would really want me as a minister.
There were some obstacles – the foremost one being my own insecurity and doubt. No-one that I can remember from my church family had ever suggested I might be gifted in this way, or encouraged me to think about it – so while they were supportive of my journey once I had embarked on it (and they were!) no one was opening doors for me. I had to push at them all myself. It was quite a lonely process at times, although the encouragement I received from my friends and lecturers at college was incredibly empowering.
I have had the privilege of living and ministering in a different language and culture, and I think this is of huge value, both personally and for the church. I am genuinely interested in people, getting to know them, listening to their stories and helping them discover their God-given gifts and abilities, and then finding a place where they can use them, whether in the church family or outside of it.
In terms of encouraging younger women to consider a call to ministry I think that giving opportunity is key and allowing both young women and men to grow up seeing as diverse a group of people as possible leading different areas in church life. It is hard to imagine being something you cannot see! Consider being a mentor for a young women who ask you or offer it to someone who you think would benefit from one. I have to say that I am passionate that older women consider a call to ministry too, not just younger women. I was 39 when I began my ministerial formation so would not have fallen into any initiatives for younger people.