Simon Chesters - a Lifecall

In our interview with Simon Chesters, he talks about his role, what Lifecall is, explaining why it’s important and what you can do if you feel you have a ‘Lifecall’.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role.
I’ve been in ordained ministry for just over 20 years and for the past five years I’ve been working for Liverpool Diocese, training people for ordained and reader ministry.

In June, I moved into the new role of director of vocations, where I coordinate a team working with people who are exploring their calling and type of ministry - from ordination to local missional leader or reader.

But our team is also about encouraging the whole church to listen to where and how God is calling them to serve, across all walks of life. It’s a big challenge but it’s an exciting one.

What is LifeCall?
LifeCall is our overall approach to growing vocations, for all kinds of people for all kinds of ministries. We believe everyone has a calling to live out their faith and serve God. LifeCall is about helping people find their next step in that calling.

We want to provide resources for people who are already exploring whether God is calling them into specific areas of ministry. Through Lifecall, we work with people to explore what God is saying, helping to remove any barriers or misunderstandings, so they identify what their next step is.

One of the key things LifeCall seeks to encourage is for people and churches to pray: asking God where He is calling them and that God will send out more labourers into the harvest field.

Why is LifeCall important?
Over the next ten years, there will be a huge number of clergy retiring. While there has been a significant increase in the number of people exploring ordination and encouraging signs of age and gender variety, we still need more people from a broader range of backgrounds finding their way into leadership and ministry roles.

The Church of England has a target for an increase by 50% in the number of those training for ordained ministry. In our diocese, we have particular gaps in younger female clergy plus clergy from black and Asian backgrounds.

It’s not just about ordained or licensed ministry – we want to encourage all God’s people to find how they are called to serve. For many, their calling is to live out their Christian faith in their current communities, families and jobs.

LifeCall goes beyond serving God in church, so our events will help people think about how they are called to serve God regardless of their walk of life or profession. It’s all part of how we can be a bigger church making a bigger difference.

What can people do if they have a ‘Lifecall’?
Look out for our LifeCall events exploring whether you are being called to be a local missional leader, reader or to be ordained. There’s a programme of breakfast meetings for younger people aged 16-25 (give or take a year or two) who are exploring ministry.

In 2017, we will be focussing on how we can encourage more women - specifically younger women, to explore their vocation and ministry.

Our ‘Directions’ course is one of our key resources for helping people work out where God is calling them. I often describe it as a course for people who think God is calling them but they’re not sure what he’s calling them to. It’s a type of signpost, designed to help people think through their calling and ministry, as well as equipping them to carry out their ministry. If you are interested in exploring your calling, our next Directions course is in January 2017.

Please pray for the vocations team and for all our churches so we can grow the numbers and variety of people finding their way into ministry and mission.