Simon Leighton: God's calling

First published 16th March 2017

My name is Simon Leighton, Im 26 years old and Im currently an Ordinand studying at Trinity College. I first experienced a very unspecific sense of call at age 18 when God dramatically worked in my life. This changed how I viewed the world and my own life completely. At the time I had no idea what God was asking of me, but I felt very clearly that he was asking me to serve him in some way.

This looked like scrapping my plans to study engineering and instead pursue this call through a year long discipleship course, followed by a degree in Theology, Music & Worship. It was during these years where God gradually began to flesh out this sense of calling in terms of better understanding who he is and how he has made me. It was during my studies where this call took on a more anglican flavour!

This took me by surprise as the Church of England had not been part of my life in any way prior to this point. I ignored it for a while, thinking I had made it up, not understanding what it might mean. I also had some strange ideas about what church leadership looked liked, namely that you had to be rampant extrovert, charismatic speaker, and inspiring visionary.

Being none of those things I didnt see how I could be called to ordination as well as being fairly young. But still the feelings persisted, so I began a more intentional exploration, joining my local anglican church and then embarking on an internship with a Bishop. This exposed me to a whole range of incredibly diverse churches and clergy, and I begun to see how God uses all kinds of very different people in great and varied ways.

This showed me that I could minister as myself and that was ok! There is no cookie cutter mould for a priest! I entered the formal discernment process which I enjoyed a lot! In many ways it is simply sharing what God has done and continues to do in your life with the help of others in discerning what he's saying through it all.

Im fully aware that ordained ministry is a costly and challenging thing to be doing, but Im not sure I would be fulfilled or content anywhere else as I believe this is what God has called me to do. Im really enjoying studying, and particularly how applied my assignments are in thinking through the challenges and opportunities of mission and ministry in God's world.

I get excited thinking about what this will look like in my placement church as well as in curacy and beyond. To anyone who even has the vaguest sense of call I would wholeheartedly encourage you to explore it. I believe everyone has vocation of some kind, and partaking in the discernment process, regardless of outcome, will help you to better understand yourself and find that vocation.