Young Adults Explore their Calling in Denver

Across the country, Friday morning will bring over 400 hundred  18-25 year old young adults packing bags, climbing into cars, and boarding airplanes. Their destination? Exploration 2013, a weekend conference for young adults discerning a call towards ordained ministry. This biannual event is sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. The Exploration Design Team anticipates another 200 youth leaders, pastors, and mentors will be making the trip to Denver this weekend.

Trip Lowery, Director of Young Adult Ministry Discernment and Enlistment at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, said that a central goal of the event is to “connect each participant with leadership in their home annual conference so they can be mentored through the discernment, candidacy, and ordination processes.”

The event begins this Friday, November 15 and runs through Sunday, November 17 at the Marriott Tech Center in Denver, Colorado. With more than 400 young adults responding to a call to ordained ministry, and an additional 250 young adult ministry leaders coming to share their wisdom and grow in their abilities to mentor and discern, event planners believe the participants will walk away with changed lives. That will happen as participants help one another clarify and refine their calls to be engaged in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with a world in need. Likewise, peer small groups(a traditional part of the Exploration experience) and developing deeper relationship with with others within their home annual conference’s helps to continue the discernment process long after the weekend is over. This year’s theme, “Gather on the Journey,” emphasizes the importance of cultivating a community of ministry companions, and not seeing he call to ministry as an individual activity.

Exploration has been known over the years for connecting young adults with leaders throughout the United Methodist Church. For many participants, Exploration  is their first significant exposure to the broader United Methodist connection, and the event helps them build relationships with church leaders.  This year, participants will hear from church leaders across the connection, including The Rev. Jorge Acevedo, Dr. Beth LaRocca-Pitts, Bishops Cynthia Fierro Harvey and Elaine Stanovsky, and young church planter and pastor The Rev. Eric Huffman. The weekend’s worship leader is The Rev. DeAndre Johnson, an ordained deacon who has directed worship for the Texas Annual Conference for the last several years. Preaching and teaching will be complemented by dozens of workshops led by national experts in young adult ministry and the ordination process, and by a ministry fair featuring the 13 United Methodist seminaries and other mission and service organizations.

Design Team members and GBHEM staff look forward to Exploration’s continued nourishing of the church’s clergy and leadership ecosystem. Exploration 2013 co-chair Rev. April Casperson is an ordained deacon and the Director of Enrollment Management and Scholarship Development at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. “In my ministry at a theological school, I continually meet clergy and seminary students who discerned a call to ministry at an Exploration event,” April said. “Exploration is a gathering that impacts the United Methodist Church and its leadership in the short term and the long term. I’m thankful that we collaborate to bring young adults together to discern pathways to ordination, seminary and ministry across the denomination and the world.”

If you are interested in following the event, Exploration can be found on a variety of social media channels:

Are you making it to Exploration this weekend? Feel free to leave your reports on the event in the comments section below.

UMReporter Staff

This story was posted by a staff member of The United Methodist Reporter. For over 160 years The United Methodist Reporter has been helping the people called Methodist to tell their stories. If you have stories that you think need to be told, please let us know at

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