1 Peter 2:9-10 – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God's own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light. Once you weren't a people, but now you are God's people. Once you hadn't received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (CEB)

We often fail to understand that God calls every Christian into ministry. Most Christians look at the title of minister or priest as one held solely by those who are “ordained” – i.e., those with “Reverend” before their name. As we see in 1 Peter, however, followers of Jesus Christ are a “royal priesthood” – a doctrine that has come to be known as “the priesthood of all believers.” Early church reformers wanted Christians to understand that it wasn’t necessary for an ordained priest to conduct all activities of God, such as ministry, pastoral care, evangelism, and church leadership. Instead, God calls all believers into ministry. Indeed, ordination is not a higher or better calling than any other calling from God. It's only a different one. In the United Methodist tradition, we believe that God calls each of us through our baptism into Christian ministry. Consequently, we shouldn't leave it up to a few trained, ordained professionals. Each of us, whether we belong to a small or large congregation, is part of a “royal priesthood,” called to “speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light."

As United Methodists, our ministry has a distinct focus, rooted in our shared mission--to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. While clergy provide crucial leadership, laity offer essential talents and are uniquely positioned where the church intersects the world. Since God calls the church to be outwardly oriented, we, as laity, must not neglect our role in making disciples.

If you would like help discerning what God is calling you to do, talk to your pastor or district superintendent. You can also check out the UMC ExploreCalling website.