I think God may be calling me to be ordained. What do I do?

God calls us all as his children and we all have vocations or callings to different areas of life: to be a doctor, a lawyer, to work in business or as an aid-worker.

Some people are called by God to minister in his Church.  There are numerous different callings: to be ordained as a priest, to minister as a Reader, to take vows as a monk or nun, or to work as a Church Army Evangelist.

Mainly these pages are aimed at people considering the call to ordained ministry, but there are some links at the bottom of the page that you can access if you feel a calling to another type of ministry within the Anglican Church.

The first step is to speak to your parish priest, who will be very pleased to talk this through with you. You may be surprised to find that he or she may have been waiting for you to come and see them about vocation for some time! It may also be good to share your feelings with some close Christian friends, who will talk and pray this through with you.

If your parish priest feels that you do have a potential vocation to ordained ministry to be explored, he or she will refer you to the Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO), who is Revd Stephen Hunter for the Sheffield Diocese. You will meet with him and he will outline the discernment and selection process to you and check if there are any matters that you need to address before entering the formal process. Once he is satisfied that you are a potential ordinand, he may refer you on to a Vocations Adviser one of the Assistant DDOs, for several months of reflection, study, and prayer. Later, you may undertake a placement, do a course of theological study, and then prepare for Diocesan Local Panel. This part of the selection is based on the Bishops’ Criteria for Selection for Ministry.

The DDO or an Assistant DDO will then arrange for you to meet with the Bishop who, if he is satisfied with the report from the DDO, will make the decision as to whether you should attend a Bishops' Advisory Panel (BAP), organised by the Ministry Division. This is a three-day residential conference, held in a retreat house. At the end of the conference, the Selectors will write a report to the Bishop, advising him whether they recommend that you should enter training for ordained ministry.
Once the Bishop has confirmed the Panel’s recommendation, he will sponsor you for training. The type of training will depend on you and the ministry you are to exercise within the Church. The DDO will discuss the different options and generally training will be for either two or three years.

The decision as to whether you will be ordained will be made by the Bishop, having taken advice from the Principal of your training college or course during your final year of training.

It normally takes between twelve and eighteen months between a candidate seeing the DDO and entering training, but can take longer.

Useful resources

'Distinctive Deacons' Document

Minority Ethnic Vocations

Self-Supporting Ordained Ministry

Vocations Pack

Vocations Reading List