Youth Faith Informed Vocational Discernment Initiative

MDS reaches out to middle school through college-aged students of all religions to establish a campus initiative that will help students in identifying their unique, God-given gifts. Our practical workshops allow for further discernment as individuals consider whether or not God’s call on their life is to be within ordained ministry or, if not, how they can still use their innate gifts and skills in ministry through their chosen vocation.


In our highly socially connected world, there are many different things that our young people can find to entertain, titillate and distract them.  They have so many sources of information on which to base their decisions about what they could, would and should do with their lives. Where is the church in this?  Not just another source of information, the Church stands in an exceptional position to help, support and guide young people in making decisions about their future in the light of their faith.   The church has a unique opportunity to invite young people to be fully engaged individuals who are able to think about how they will live out their baptismal calling as God’s children and part of the Family of God.  

These programs are designed to help and encourage young people to 1) look inward to identify their God-given gifts, 2) look outward to explore the world’s needs and 3) look upward to discern the will of God.  These programs (which can be modified based on the group) are for students to examine the concept of vocation and how God is calling them to live the gifts they have been given.   All programs are approximately 90 minutes and will include Bible study, worship, reflection and activities designed to help young people explore vocation.

Program I  – Who am I? 
Middle School Students
In this program, participants will identify their God-given gifts, talents and skills and how these can be used for the good of the world and how these gifts match with work category interests.


Songs and gathering/settling exercises

Film clip  

Discussion: 

  • Gifts given for a purpose

Group activity collage:  

  • Needs in the world 
  • Making a difference

Individual Spiritual Gifts Inventory:  

  • Searching for gifts and 
  • How can your gifts be used to meet needs

Scripture Reading: Romans 12: 1-8

Sending

Program 2 – Vocation? Girls and Boys just want to have fun!
High School Students
Work can be fun especially if a person is passionate about what they are doing.  In this program, participants will explore their values, what is important to them to understand how they give meaning to life.  They will discuss how the choices related to work is a reflection of their values and whether their choices are a reflection of how God has called all to be in ministry.  

Songs and Energizers
Scripture Reading/Discussion: Romans 12:1-8
Go to God:

  • GIFTS Acrostic
  • Go to God: life and purpose worksheet based on John Calvin’s question

Group problem:  solving activity

  • Personality graphing
  • Discussion: gifts that participants bring and that others observe in them

Spiritual Gifts Inventory
Putting it together

  • Temperament
  • God given Gifts 
  • Career and the World Needs

Closing 

Program 3 – Life is a Journey
College Students – 3 hours

In an old hymn, Hark the Voice of Jesus Crying, the refrain that is sung is, “Here am I, Send Me, Send Me.” You have heard the voice of Jesus crying, see the needs of world and want to respond in an intentional way that uses the gifts that God has uniquely given you.  You have heard the words, the Priesthood of All Believers.   Are you called to a life of professional ministry or living a more intentional spiritual life of service?  Come explore this question in this program which is designed to prayerfully unwrap spiritual gifts to better understand vocation as a calling through which in all aspects of life respond to the Biblical question, What does God require of You – to do what is right, love mercy,  and walk humbly with your God. 

Gathering
Scripture Reading: Romans 12:1-8
Readings: 

  • William James
  • What Makes a Life Significant?    
  • Discussion questions integrating essay and Bible reading    

Personality graphing: 

  • MBTI-II
  • Strength finders

Putting it together:

  • Personality
  • God given gifts 
  • Career and world needs

Closing

Program 4 – Affirming Gifts: What do you know?
Parents and Youth – 90 minutes 
15 to 25 parent/youth groups

How do you get youth to think about their future work as “ministry” regardless of what type of work that is?  This interactive program includes parent(s) and youth who will work together to discover how much they know, or maybe don’t really know, about each other, about life, and work.

The youth and their parent, or parent surrogate, will independently complete a questionnaire about themselves and each other.  MDS will provide the questionnaire. It is suggested that prior to this program, a youth group meeting will encompass time to complete the pre-work that will be used at this program/venue.  

An MDS counselor will facilitate: 

  • Interactive activity 
  • Scripture reading 
  • Parent/duo exchanges of information from the questionnaire in a structured way that facilitates curiosity about each person
  • Summary of what they learned
  • Group gathering closing 










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Formerly Career And Personal Counseling Service

Guiding and nurturing ministerial candidates, church professionals, and individuals from a number of denominations through the process of career and life planning.