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Exploration 2024: Discover Your Calling (UM Higher Education & Ministry)

November 13, 2023

Exploration is designed to give young adults between the ages of 18-24 an invigorating place to discover God’s calling on their lives. The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is excited to announce the return of Exploration, an empowering event created to help support young adults discern their call to ministry. 

“My experience with Exploration contributed greatly to discerning my call to ministry,” said Omando Bastian, a third-year dual degree student at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., who attended Exploration in 2017 and 2019. “Between the small groups and small group leaders who offered great guidance, and the different workshops that were offered, I was able to connect with persons who were already in seminary and following their call and persons like myself who were still discerning.”

“This is the time when we are trying to find what our purpose is and what we want to do as young adults,” Bastian added. “I feel as though Exploration is an important environment for young adults to find community and build meaningful relationships with others who are in the discerning process.”

Exploration alum Janee Lafuze said that going to the conference can also help a person discern that perhaps it is not yet time to pursue ministry.

“It helped me to see how persons called into ministry do not necessarily need to be ordained—how a call can be present but not yet ready to be taken,” said Lafuze, a Garrett student who works fulltime as director of students and young adults at a church. “I wanted to go be with others, get access to someone from all the seminaries and see what resources were available for me.”

This year’s event is being held Feb. 16-18 [2024] in Orlando, Fla. On the docket are workshops like, “What Does It Mean to be Called Into Ministry?” and “Be Creative! Rethink Church, Fresh Expressions, New Church Starts.” 

Exploration gives young adults the opportunity to work through understanding God’s calling in ordained ministry, while also creating space to worship passionately, create friendships, and gain valuable insights from United Methodist leaders of many different backgrounds.

“Exploration gave me a sense of direction,” Lafuze said. “I was able to figure out my next step and in doing so, I could focus my attention on being productive in those spaces rather than splitting it among multiple different venues.”

For more information, click here.

For questions, contact Cathy Wilson, Cal-Pac Associate Director to the Board of Ordained Ministry & Orders Executive Committee, at