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Best Resources for Vocational Discernment

Are You Hearing the Call? What to Expect, Where to Go For Answers

The Forum for Theological Exploration is a significant resource for vocational discernment. An ecumenical, nonprofit advocate for excellence and diversity in pastoral ministry and theological scholarship, FTE supports the next generation of pastors and scholars in their vocational reflection, offers resources and money to institutions to help students explore ministry and helps finance lay pastors’ training programs. 

Prospective Students: FTE offers resources to guide you in discerning God’s calling and help you plan to pursue and finance a theological education. Stories of Calling: The fund offers a series of short video interviews with students who have discovered their call to ministry.

Explore Vocations by Volunteering: FTE’s Volunteers Exploring Vocation program provides a vetted list of volunteer programs and recommends reading on Vocation and Vocational Discernment.

Entering and Existing Seminary Students: If you are an entering or existing master’s-level student pursuing a call to pastoral ministry or religion-oriented leadership, you may qualify for support through several targeted ministry fellowship and financial aid programs, including special funds for minority students pursuing academic vocations.

Planning Guide: All students and prospective students can benefit from the FTE Guide to Theological Education. The guide offers extensive information on how to compare schools, select a suitable one, make application and create a strategy to pay for school.

Fund Finder: FTE’s Fund Finder provides information about additional sources of financial assistance for undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and postdoctoral studies in religion and theology.

Calvin Institute of Christian Worship has published a list of resources offering perspective and advice for congregations that are considering creating internship opportunities for seminary students or potential seminarians.

The Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts offers financial, mentor and peer support programs for young scholars exploring vocations, or renewing their sense of call to a vocation, in church-related academia.

Faith and Leadership, an online magazine of the Leadership Education program at Duke Divinity School, has an archive of reports and articles related to vocational discernment.

Also be sure to explore the other articles and resources on our Choosing a SeminaryInstitutional Profiles Teaching Religion sections.

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