Session 4: Exploring Church Vocations (2 sessions) - Part 1: Non-Ordained Ministries

Objectives: By the end of this session participants should be able to . . .
1. list various vocations (ways of serving) in the Church that do not require ordination
2. compare the roles of various groups, or bodies in the Church (the choir, parish council, church school, etc.)
3. list some special talents and gifts people use in the Church
4. explain why we all need to find ways to serve God's Church

Useful Texts for Leader Reflection/Preparation:
1 Tim 5: 3-10, Titus, 1 Peter

A: Younger Children (Objectives 1, 3, & 4)
Presentation: Review from Session 2
Let's go back and look at the collage we made when we talked about "Who are the people in our Church." Are there any other people that we didn't mention who use their gifts in the Church to glorify God and help others? Once you have exhausted all possibilities ask, "Which of the vocations that we listed do not require ordination?" List all responses.

Discussion about "Using our Gifts for God" Collage.
What special gifts, abilities and interests do each of the people in the collage need to have in order to do what they do? [Church school teachers need to like children and know how to talk with them, grounds keepers have to like being outside and know about how things grow, the parish Treasurer needs to be good at math and know about money, etc..]
What would happen if any of these vocations was missing? [With no priest, we wouldn't have a fully functioning parish, with no grounds-keeper the church would look messy and run down, etc.]

Activity: Our Parish
This activity is possible for all three age levels. Of course, the results will vary depending on the group. Teachers/presenters need to beware of expecting more than what is appropriate. They may not demonstrate understanding the "full situation" but they will understand what they can at their level.
Have each participant choose one of the non-ordained church ministries they discussed. Have them think about what a person with that ministry might have been doing over the past month or so. Hold a parish meeting with participants pretending to be the person who has their ministry or vocation.
At the end of the meeting discuss what was said and some of the correct and incorrect perceptions people have about these vocations and ministries.

B: Pre-teens (Objectives 1, 3 & 4)
Presentation: We're All Connected!
Break participants up into groups of four, five or six, depending on how many participants you have. Have them stand in a circle, some facing in and some facing out. Tell them to hold hands with two different people in the circle who are not right next to them so that their right hand is holding the someone's left hand and their left hand is holding someone's right hand. Tell them to "untie the knot" so that they standing side by side the people with whom they are holding hands without letting go.
Remind them to be patient and that they will have to do this as a group. When they have finished say, "just like this knot, all of what we do in the Church is connected."

Discussion on Churchly Vocations.
If it is possible, take participants on a walk through and around the Church. Tell them to look around and see all the things in the church that require people who have special talents and abilities.
After the tour, draw two columns on a large sheet of paper. List, in the first column, the special people who have made a personal contribution to the church. When all ideas are exhausted have them determine the special gifts and abilities those people used. List all responses in the second column.
Ask students if they have any of the talents that were listed.
Discuss the following:
· Of all these people, who do you think is the most important?
· How many of these people work together?
· What would happen if there wasn't a (insert item from column 1)?


C: Teens (Objectives 1 - 4)

Activity: Job Interviews.
On 4x6 cards write down various "parish vocations" (choir director, parish council member, youth director, camp director, church school teacher, grounds keeper, etc.).
Divide the kids into groups of three or four. Give each group a 4x6 card and have them stage a job interview for that position. Instruct them to refer to the books of Timothy, Titus, 1 Peter, and others for qualities all Christians should have.
They will have to choose who will be applying for the job and who will be the person or committee to chose the best candidate. One person should be a person qualified for the vocation and the other person should not be qualified.
Give them about 15 minutes to determine the qualifications necessary for the job to stage the interview appropriately.

Teen Journal Reflection. Based upon all the vocations we have talked about, what is one way in the Church you think you would like to glorify God and help others? Why?

Session Conclusion
St. Paul wrote that God appointed some to be apostles, some to be teachers, some to be healers, and some to give guidance (1 Cor. 12: 27 ) in order that each of us can glorify God, help others, and build up Christ's Body, the Church. The Church has many ways that we can use our gifts for God and others and we don't have to be a bishop, priest, or deacon to use them. These vocations don't usually mean lots of money or becoming famous, but they do give us the greatest reward of all: to be part of God's plan.