First Third Conversations

Discipleship and Vocation

A blog post by Jody Wendt

Image Credit: Jody Wendt

In one of my classes at Luther Seminary, we have been talking about discipleship and vocation. This is something I have struggled with over time. But, I feel as if I have a better grasp on it now.

According to Michael Foss in his book, Power Surge, Discipleship is about individual Christians -- and the church as a community of Christians -- living in mission. Discipleship is about recognizing that Christ is the center of both personal and public life and then living out the implications of that reality” (Foss, Power Surge, p. 28).

Vocation is “how to relate Christian faith to the totality of one’s life … It is a lens through which to see the obligations of our specific and varied social locations as avenues of God’s call” (Schuurman, Vocation, p. xi). Vocation could be one’s occupation, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. We are called to use our gifts, talents, and passions to participate in God’s mission for the world. If we are lucky, we can do that in our occupation, but it also exists in the other roles that we embody throughout our lives (i.e. father, mother, sibling, friend, mentor, student, athlete, volunteer, etc.).

As disciples, we are called to follow Christ and become closer with God. Through practices of discipleship, we can be re-fueled in order to be in relationship with one another through a Christian way of life. These practices of discipleship also help us build our faith in God so that we can discern our vocation and come to recognize our gifts and talents that can be used to contribute to God’s greater plan.

In ministry, we must walk with one another as we explore our discipleship practices and also how we are called to participate in God’s mission. Through baptism, we are accepted into community, and God is relational. With this, we can use our communities (including church) to carry out God’s mission as well as for support as we discern and explore. The church is just one arena that can give us the space and resources as a community to explore our individual gifts, passions, and talents so that we might come to understand where our specific calling might be in the world.


  • Expose the children, youth, and families in your congregation/community to various discipleship practices so that they can explore what works for them and how they best connect with God. This will also help them learn how to live out their Christian faith in their everyday lives.
  • Be in conversation with others about their passions and give them avenues to get “plugged in” so they can continue to discern how they can participate in God’s mission for the world.


Foss, Michael W. Power Surge: Six Marks of Discipleship for a Changing Church.
Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000.

Schuurman, Douglas J. Vocation: Discerning Our Callings in Life. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004.

Author Bio:
Jody is a student in the Master of Arts in Children, Youth, and Family Ministry program at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. She currently serves as the Youth Director at University Lutheran Church of Hope in Minneapolis, MN.


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