Sam Sheppard : God's calling
My name is Sam I’m 22 years old and in my third year of training for ordination at Ripon College Cuddesdon. I’ve come from Kingswood where I’d been working with the churches in Kingswood Team Ministry, mostly with the Church plant All Souls Southey Park and in the estate it’s planted in through different community projects.
I became a Christian when I was a teenager in St Andrews Chippenham and felt pretty much straight away that God was calling me to ordination, I’d look up at the vicar and feel God say “You should do that”. It was a nagging sensation that I ignored for years because I felt I must be wrong, like I didn’t have it in me.
When I eventually did go to my vicar and then my DDO to tell them that I felt called to ordination I was really frightened. Because I knew I was young, people always feel the need to tell young people they’re young. And I’m not very well spoken, I didn’t go to university, I don’t say many clever things or speak Latin or anything, my Dad works in a factory not an office. I didn’t think I was the sort of person the Church would want with a collar on.
But the DDO at the time took my sense of calling seriously and gave me a fair chance. We discussed my vocation and I went through the stages like anyone else, eventually going to a Bishops Advisory Panel which recommended me for training. I started my training when I was 21.
The best thing about what I do now is knowing that I’m becoming who I was made to be, and doing what God made me to do.
If there was one thing I wish I’d known when I started it’s that the Church isn’t against me. The DDO is trying to work with you to help you find your calling, what God has intended for your life. It isn’t a test or an examination.
If you feel you may be called to ordained ministry don’t hold back or wait until your older go see your Vicar or your chaplain and get in touch with your DDO, we shouldn’t let fear stop us from following Gods call on our lives.