No Ministry Is Too Small:
A Reflection on Calling at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
By: Katya Kozachuk
On the tip of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota, there is an Episcopal church that just celebrated its 150th anniversary. Along with battling the cold winters and enjoying mid-western summer lake life, the congregation at St. Paul’s is on a journey to discover what it means to be a community called by God for a century and a half. In their anniversary celebration, the people of St. Paul made videos to tell the stories of the life of their church and highlight moments of faithful ministry. These videos were created to capture the ways St. Paul and its ministry grew over the years. They are taking time to reflect and remember the ways they’ve seen God move in and through their congregation. Thus, calling challenges us to remember the stories of God’s faithfulness so that we can see where God is moving us. To remember the God stories in our lives is also a reminder that God is continually transforming us into the people God created us to be.
What leadership and staff have noticed is that people are not only becoming more comfortable with using calling language, but they are starting to see that calling isn’t just for people who are in ministry or church leadership.
Parishioners at St. Paul’s are being awakened to the reality that God calls “regular” folks. That church members who don’t necessarily have theology degrees or ministry backgrounds can participate in the work that God may be beckoning them toward. Indeed, calling isn’t just for the few elected that find themselves doing ministry, but it’s for all who are a part of the Kingdom of God. They recently hosted a ministry appreciation night, which included ushers, lectors, and anyone who found themselves serving at any capacity in the church. This was to show them and encourage them to see that they are doing ministry with God.
This ministry appreciation event teaches and shows us is that no calling is too small for God. We also see more clearly that no ministry goes unnoticed by God. God eagerly shows us that God is with us and wants to participate in all the things. So, ministry is not at all about status, but it’s about being open to the things God is leading us to like ushering or being on the hospitability committee. Those parts of service that seem small by our standards are actually helping us transform into the people that God desires us to be because we are willing to be faithful ministers in even the smallest of tasks. And God has been doing it in this community for 150 years.
Calling challenges us to reach beyond ourselves. In an anniversary year, the focus for the St. Paul congregation centered on internal reflection and However, their next move is to explore how calling moves beyond St. Paul’s the walls of St. Paul’s. When we are willing to reach out beyond our church walls, we can participate in the Kingdom of God by drawing people into the grace of God’s love. To be called is an invitation to remember not only the stories of God’s faithfulness but also an invitation to participate with God, to draw people into God’s love and light, and to do it for decade upon decade upon decade.