Image by toon vb via Flickr

FEW THINGS ARE MORE ENCOURAGING than the conversations I have with people who are ready to explore Christian vocation in depth – and I’ve had several such encounters in the past few weeks. And it’s not an easy option, not a call that guarantees an easy life. The hurdles to be scaled before one ever gets down to the church history, the doctrine, ethics, pastoralia, spirituality, theology, worship and possibly a house move are all part of the training. And this “being thrown in at the deep end” is the norm, of course, when one has just successfully negotiated school and university – one’s friends are all in the same situation. But it’s quite another thing when you’re considering leaving a 20 year career, a home you’ve nearly paid the mortgage on, the settled outlook and friendships formed over decades of belonging somewhere. “Follow me” was the Master’s call beside the Sea of Galilee. And it’s a call still being heard the world over – and wonderfully and bravely acted upon. These vocations are today’s fresh expressions, and it’s the sacrificial generosity at the heart of so many of them that gives me such hope for a more generous, open-hearted and Spirit-led future.