Featured ministry: Christian Vocations

cv_logo_webWe’ve mentioned Christian Vocations a few times on this website before, but it’s worth stopping to draw your attention to this excellent ministry.  CV (as it’s known to its friends) has been active for many years helping people get into the right place in mission.  Its focus is on helping people to understand themselves, know their giftings, and find the right opportunity for ministry.

STS2014_cover_165x215Probably the most well-known product is the Short-Term Service Directory, which is the best place for anybody thinking of doing short-term mission to start.  It lists agencies which provide short-term opportunities, and tells you where they work and what they do.  No church should be without it.  How else are you going to know where to send people when they tell you they’re thinking of doing some short-term mission?

In addition to the thousands of opportunities for short-term service listed in the directory, CV also maintains a huge online file of vacancies in the mission world both at home and abroad.  A simple search engine on their website will help you identify roles that might be appropriate for you if you’re looking to serve God in mission.  In the event that you don’t find anything appropriate, they also have a registration service where you can tell CV what you’re looking for, and if anybody registers a vacancy that matches your requirements, they email you.

68547_10151597577244603_1250709866_nAnother CV ministry which Syzygy has been involved with for quite a while is the Vocationzone, which is a major feature of events such as Spring Harvest, Word Alive and Keswick.  Drawn by the opportunity to complete a simple computer questionnaire to help them identify their giftings, hundreds of people each week are helped by CV advisors to explore God’s plan for their lives and consider how God might be calling them to serve him.  As a result, many people go away enthused with a new vision and purpose for being used by God in mission.  If you’re at Spring Harvest this year, drop into the Skyline and check out the Vocationzone, and you may even meet a Syzygy representative helping out.

reignite_green_500x175CV is also behind the renowned retreat called re:ignite, which is designed specifically for mission workers on home assignment in the UK.  The well-planned programme balances time to relax and reflect with input on issues like transition, stress and communication.  There are still spaces available on this year’s retreat in May.

Other reflective exercises are available on the CV website which can help people understand their gifts and role in church and mission more effectively.  For those who want to explore this more thoroughly, there is an excellent personal advice service called designate, which uses professional advisors to help people gain a clearer picture through one-to-one mentoring.  While there is a nominal charge for this service, we think it’s excellent value and people we know who have been through it speak very positively of it.

MM2014_cover_180x250CV also produces the very helpful magazine Mission Matters.  This contains articles, testimonies, stories of mission from around the world, and a sample of the vacancies CV advertises.  This is an ideal resource for sharing with a youth group, giving to people considering a vocation in mission, so make sure you have a good stock on your church bookstall.

In addition to all this, the CV website also has a collection of guidelines, articles, and other resources which all contribute to CV’s goal of helping people find the right place for them in God’s mission.

Report from the Vocation Zone

68547_10151597577244603_1250709866_nDuring the week following Easter, Syzygy was represented at Spring Harvest by Tim, who was helping out in the Vocation Zone.  This is a project run by Christian Vocations in partnership with Spring Harvest, which aims to help people recognise their God-given abilities and understand where they can exercise them appropriately, whether in the workplace, church or overseas mission.

A steady flow of visitors to Spring Harvest came through the Vocation Zone, many of them looking at vacancies in Christian organisations which were displayed on the jobs wall, taking home resources such as the Short Term Service Directory, or using the computers to do some of the reflective exercises.  All these activities can lead to a discussion with an advisor (Paul, Tim and Rachel) who were available to help people think through issues and gain some focus for finding a way forward.

Many of the visitors to the Vocation Zone came because they were aware of dissatisfaction with their current role.  A lot of them were teachers, frustrated with bureaucracy; others were people in dead-end jobs looking for more fulfilment, and many were facing redundancy.

One such visitor was a man who had been in the same job for 20 years and he didn’t like it.  He wanted a change but didn’t know where to start.  We started him off with some of our diagnostic tools.  Having done a ‘career check up’ he had realised that his job wasn’t as bad as he had thought it was, and following a long conversation he discovered that he actually quite liked his job, but felt unsupported in it.  Added to that, the general level of change and uncertainty in his life had left him emotionally unable to deal with the challenges he faced.  Empowered by this understanding, he was able to develop a plan to engage better with his employers and develop his workplace skills.

527123_10151597525594603_2133469060_nSome of the visitors were people approaching retirement who were looking for ways to use their availability to serve God abroad, and a large number of the visitors were young people looking to do mission during their gap year.  Using the Christian Vocations resources such as the magazine Mission Matters and the mission vacancies listings we were able to point many of them to the mission field, including several who’d never considered going abroad or had thought their circumstances made it impossible.

Vocation Zone is an important part of events like Spring Harvest as it gives a mission-focussed edge in the context of many thousands of Christians coming together.  It is also at New Word Alive and Keswick, so make sure you drop by if you are ever at any of these events.  Our friends at Oscar run a similar Missions Advice Area at New Wine.  If you can’t get to any of these events, most of the resources are available online at www.christianvocations.org, and so are all the job vacancies, both in the UK and overseas.  Please pray for the hundreds of people impacted by Vocation Zone each year.