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Asbury students consider vocation during Wesleyan Heritage Conference

From staff reports

At Asbury University, spiritual vitality isn’t just a catchphrase or relic of years gone by — it’s the way the university commits to its campus life. The University was founded in 1890 by John Wesley Hughes, a traveling evangelist who consecrated his life to pointing people to Christ. Today, the Wesleyan Holiness tradition still infuses campus culture in a variety of ways, including special Chapel services and conferences.
Every other year, the University gathers together for the Wesleyan Heritage Conference, a week designed for the Asbury community to soak in rich denominational traditions as it reflects on the Wesleyan response to various challenges and joys in residents’ lives. This year’s conference explored Wesleyan perspectives on vocation by asking the question, “What is my calling?”
The conference explored this question during Chapel last Wednesday and Friday, with additional sessions held Thursday and Friday. Speakers included Dr. Bud Bence, professor emeritus at Indiana Wesleyan University, and Dr. Philip Meadows, Sundo Kim professor at Asbury Theological Seminary.
During Wednesday’s Chapel, Bence differentiated the ways in which God calls his people in a sermon entitled, “Does God call Lyft drivers too?”
A ringtone rang out in the silent auditorium as Bence took to the podium. He apologized to the congregation before answering a phone call from an unexpected caller, God.
“Don’t you wish it could be that easy?” Bence joked, after finishing a comical illustration of a phone call with God. “He is a God of technology. He knows technology. Why doesn’t He use iPhones these days? It would just be so much easier. You could ask God, ‘What should my major be?’ or ‘Who should I marry?’”
His humorous yet effective illustration pointed to a larger anxiety that plagues many Christians who wish figuring out their vocation was as easy as taking a phone call from God, especially those who are college-aged and in the midst of making big life decisions.
Bence encouraged students to see the bigger picture of calling and to notice the small ways in which God calls Christians to lives of salvation, holiness and service in everyday life.
“For all the talk that we Christians make about this idea that God calls one, there’s a lot of questions and a lot of confusion about what it means,” Bence said. “We talk quite clearly in this secular society about people having a vocation. We use the word vocation to talk about people’s occupations and careers without any reference to where that call comes from. We use the word, but it seems to have lost its meaning someplace in there. What is this connection between vocation and God, particularly God’s calling on my life?”
Bence drew from Ephesians 4 throughout the sermon, in which Paul urges the people in Ephesus to live lives worthy of the “calling” God has given them.
“I think that we would do better as Christians to start with that basic calling and then discover what it means for God to guide us,” Bence said.
The week will also see sessions on the heart of vocation, practicing God’s presence and the changing views of vocation.
The Wesleyan Heritage Conference is just one of many opportunities that Asbury students have to engage with the enriching spiritual traditions of the Wesleyan Holiness Church. Each academic year, students experience God’s presence in new and profound ways through Holiness Emphasis Week, Fall Revival and regular Chapel programming.