Candidacy Summit: A Time to Explore the Many Facets of Ministry

Date Posted: 8/27/2015

If you missed out on the recent Candidacy Summit, read how others that are exploring the process found encouragement from mentors, shared stories and experiences – and consider enrolling in the 2016 event.

“This was a journey that I will never forget.  From the time that I stepped foot into the main area, till the time that I left, I learned more about me and my calling than I ever knew before.  The connection with other brothers and sisters in the faith, the staff and the host, will forever be etched in my mind and my soul.  And just to think, this was only the first step. Cannot wait to see what the next step will lead to,” shares Tim Wheat, Stockman UMC, describing the Texas Conference’s July Candidacy Summit.  
“Candidacy” is part of a lifelong spiritual journey of discerning God’s calling in our lives, explains Rev. Carol Bruse, who chairs the Board of Ordained Ministry.  “The annual Summit each summer is a time for candidates to pause, gather on a hilltop with other travelers and people who have traveled these roads before them, and overlook the different routes to which God may be calling them,” she shares.

The Candidacy Summit is a multi-day event each July, at Camp Allen in Navasota, during which all Conference candidates for licensed and ordained ministry entering the Exploring Phase of candidacy 1) receive accurate information about the entire process; 2) begin meeting together in small groups with trained Exploring Mentors; and 3) have opportunities to worship, share their call stories, meet District Superintendents and other supporters, and take required psychological tests.

Our 2015 candidates enjoyed their time at Summit and are all expectant of what God has called them to do, what He will do in them and through their ministries. A few of the participants share their thoughts:

“The Candidacy Summit was an awesome experience.  We are seeing the Holy Spirit working to strengthen the Body of Christ!  I walked away from the summit giddy with excitement to be a disciple of Jesus and humbled to be playing a small role in something much greater than myself. “ - Sean Leick, First UMC, Mont Belvieu

“It was a time of agape, fellowship, and discernment…God's presence experienced through the presence of the Holy Spirit…A call answered... A journey begun.  I felt loved and supported by our brothers and sisters in Christ, and blessed through the experience of Candidacy Summit.” - David Cater, St. Luke’s UMC, Houston

“Summit was incredibly welcoming and affirming. It was a joy to see the connections in the church. The worship was uplifting and the discussions and workshops helped bring clarity to my decision. God's presence was felt throughout.” - Kate Flint, Christ UMC, Sugar Land
“Candidacy Summit is a time to sharpen the saw. Each part of the program helps the applicants to better understand the reality of serving God and also to guide each participant to understand their own calling and tools to be able to continue the journey.” - Rodson Cardoso, Cypress UMC
“Candidacy Summit was an amazing experience. I was able to better discern how God is calling me to serve in the church. I heard God speaking to me clearly about quite a few things. It also allowed me to connect with people who are journeying this path with me and I'm excited to see and share how God is going to work in our lives over this time. The time was much needed and well spent.” - Lynzey Guidry, Trinity East UMC, Houston
“The Candidacy Summit was a wonderful set-apart time to discern the path God has set me upon, and to gain information and perspective from many who are on, or farther down, a similar road.” - Cynthia Blackshear, Good Shepherd UMC, Cypress
“The entire team of mentors was anointed, educated, equipped, and qualified, being in the presents of people that love the Lord and the ministry made for a weekend of inspirational learning and discerning.  Thank you, Texas Annual Conference.” - Cliff Shearrow, Clear Lake UMC, Houston
“I thought Candidacy Summit was a great experience. The people and facilities were fantastic and the journey we went on together as a group was not only discerning but also a time to rekindle our personal relationships with our Heavenly Father.  I am grateful for the experience and time of discernment that has been provided to me.” - Cody Bauman, First UMC, Jasper
“It was truly a wonderful Summit to experience the method in Methodist and also to connect with mentors, and fellow brothers and sisters going on the same journey for one God.”  -Joseph Wright, HOPE Church Pearland
District Superintendent Kip Gilts says, “I shared with the candidates that if every one of them chose to go into pastoral ministry, the weekend would probably have been misspent. The Summit is one of the discernment tools used in the process of hearing the call to pastoral ministry. All of us are called into ministry as followers of Christ, so the challenge before us is to determine what lane of ministry we will best serve the kingdom of God. For some it is lay leadership in the church, for some it is vocational ministry in the church that does not require either a license or ordination, for some it is to serve as a licensed local pastor, an ordained deacon or ordained elder. Not one of these ministries is superior to another.”
To explore this opportunity further, see the information online or contact Deann Saxton at Applications are being accepted through June 2016.