Discern, a weekend retreat for high school and college students who believe they are sensing a call to the gospel ministry, was recently held at Garaywa Camp & Conference Center, Clinton, Mississippi.
More than 50 students attended this year’s retreat, “which walked them through what it means to be ‘called,'” said Ken Hall, student ministry consultant for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board. This was accomplished, he noted, through Bible study, worship, breakout groups and hearing from various ministry leaders.
‘Think about issues’
“Discern is a great chance for a student to think about all issues concerning a call to ministry,” said Andy Mullins, discipleship pastor for McLaurin Heights Baptist Church, Pearl, who serves on the Discern planning team.
“Students get the chance to hear from ministers about issues ranging from education to integrity, and spiritual health to daily schedule,” he said of the Jan. 6–7 event. “They leave encouraged and equipped to see if God is calling them to ministry.”
He added, “It has grown every year in its [four years of] programming and reach. It has been exciting to see how God is speaking to high school and college students around the state.”
Brandy Johnson, minister of education at First Baptist Church Clinton, noted the Discern weekend also “provided a great opportunity for young people to carve out time to hear clearly from the Lord and a variety of people who are currently serving in full-time ministry settings.”
“Broadening the scope of ministry-related paths this year proved to be a valuable part of the weekend,” she said. Team members included a missionary to an unreached people group, a Baptist student ministry director, a church planter, traditional ministerial roles, women in ministry and a college professor at a Christian university, among others.
“The beauty of the event was found in the truth that the Kingdom of God cannot be put in a box,” Johnson said.
“We serve an incredibly creative God who uses His people in a variety of ways to accomplish His purposes,” she said. “When the Lord calls, you respond with a resounding ‘yes’ and let Him work out the details.”
Andrew Irwin, minister to students at First Baptist Church Laurel, asserted, “We want those who have accepted the call to ministry and those who are wrestling with that call to be able to be poured into at this retreat.
“Our hope is that … the Holy Spirit would bring more clarity to [those who] attend,” he said. “To me this is one of the best ways we can train up the next generation of Mississippi Baptist ministers.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Tony Martin and originally published by the Baptist Record.