Feeling the calling

Mac Mullins

Like so many seminary students before him, Mac Mullins '23 was first led toward ministry by his own pastor.

“I had a conversation with my pastor about where to study Lutheran theology, and he asked if I’d considered going into ministry. He said, ‘I think you have the gifts,’” Mullins shared, who joined the Master of Divinity program at LTSS in 2019.

“There are three parts to the candidacy process. God calls you. That’s one thing, but you also have to feel the calling. Then other people have to identify it within you. For me, it all happened fast. It was very much God calling me, but also kind of God shoving me out the door.”

Mullins’s internship at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church — a mid-sized congregation in Durham, North Carolina — in 2021-2022 proved just as impactful as those early steps of discernment.

“It was an incredible year. I did everything — pastoral care, home visits, hospital visits and some campus ministry. I learned to fill out the paperwork and the church parish register. I learned that Wite-Out is my friend," he chuckled.

Most important for Mullins was getting time to practice preaching, an area where he didn’t feel especially confident before the internship.

“I got to preach quite a lot and found I have some talent for it. It’s something I enjoy and want to keep working on because one is not born a great preacher. It’s a skill that takes years of practice to perfect.”

Mullins looks forward to those coming years of practice as he begins the process of ordination. As closely as he connected with St. Paul’s during his internship, his vision of his ideal church has broadened from the experience.

“I’m less worried about the size of the church, how it looks or how the congregation worships. I want a church that wants to live out the gospel,” he said. “I’m interested in a congregation that’s willing to challenge themselves. Lutherans are the church of the Reformation, our understanding is that God is always reforming the world. We have to be willing to be reformed and make the world a place where God’s vision becomes how the world is.”

Earlier this fall, a group of students and faculty from LTSS joined the World Council of Churches Assembly in Germany for ten days of spiritual, cultural and personal enlightenment.

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