Responding to God’s call

February 8, 2024 | Opinion | Volume 28 Issue 3
Gary Peters | Mennonite Church Saskatchewan
Photo by Alexander Andrews/Unsplash.

New Year’s Day is often a time we reflect on the events and experiences of the past year. It is also the time we look forward to what might lie ahead. 

At the beginning of 2023, I received an email from Terry Stefaniuk, who was then the moderator of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan. Terry asked if I would consider serving as the regional church’s executive minister. The position had been vacant for about a year.

I was confronted with the decision of whether or not to accept and serve in this role. I struggled with the question, “Is this God’s call for me?”

The Bible contains many stories of God calling people into various leadership roles. 

We don’t know how the call was given to Abraham when God promised he would become the ancestor of a multitude of nations (Genesis 17). Samuel heard God’s call by a voice in the night and needed Eli’s help to understand it was God’s voice (1 Samuel 3). 

Samuel was the voice through which God called David to be king of the Hebrew people (1 Samuel 16). The prophet Jeremiah experienced the hand of the Lord upon his mouth when he was called to speak to the nations (Jeremiah 1). 

John the Baptist was called by God before his miraculous birth (Luke 1) and the Apostle Paul experienced God’s call as a blinding light and a voice on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). 

Knowing that God’s call takes many different forms didn’t help me determine if Terry’s invitation was God calling me to the executive minister role. I needed other ways to aid my discernment. 

Soon after Terry contacted me, I came up with a long list of reasons I would not do well as executive minister. Also, I had never had any desire to work in this role. 

I have always considered that God’s call has come to me through the voices of other people. It was Hanley Mennonite Church that called me to the role of congregational chairperson in the 1980s. It was the people of Hanley Mennonite who called me and Margaret, my spouse, to pastoral roles. 

More recently, I experienced God’s call to ministry at the Fiske and Herschel Mennonite churches. 

As I thought and prayed about Terry’s invitation, my mind settled. I began to see this call as an opportunity to become more closely involved with the broader church in Saskatchewan and Canada. I would have the opportunity to meet new people and get to know our ministries more fully. 

I started getting excited. Was this God speaking to me? 

I accepted the call on an interim, part-time basis, with hesitation and many questions. I have been fortunate to be part of a dedicated and energetic staff who are willing to guide and encourage me. 

It has been, and continues to be, an honour for me to serve MC Saskatchewan. 

It is a body in which we experience the salvation of Christ. This takes place through forgiveness and belonging. We receive wisdom which directs our life both corporately and individually. 

It is the body through which we proclaim God as creator and sustainer of this world and life upon it. 

It is the body through which we offer ourselves to serve God. We share God’s love to each other and to the world. 

I will serve as executive minister until the end of May, at which time Len Rempel will take the role. I pray we will continue to follow faithfully through his leadership. 

Gary Peters can be reached at

Photo by Alexander Andrews/Unsplash.

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