What is Vocal Ministry? 

From Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice:

Direct communion with God constitutes the essential experience of meeting for worship. Fresh insights may come to anyone out of the living stillness. Some insights are purely personal, providing guidance and inspiration to that individual. Other insights seem meant for the meeting as a whole.

Friends find that vocal ministry:

  • Can arise in anyone who is present at meeting for worship;
  • Manifests itself in the individual as a “call”, described as an uncomfortable quickening or a profound silence before speaking and a sense of relief or release afterward;
  • Arises from the heart rather than the head;
  • Impels the worshipper to rise and share the message received from Spirit;
  • Does not break the silence but adds to it;
  • Takes many different forms, including prayer, song, story, testimonial or dance;
  • Cannot be readily reconstructed afterward by the one who responds to the call;
  • Is a conduit for God’s love and work in the world;
  • Is a call to faithfulness.

Those who are hesitant should feel the meeting community’s loving encouragement to give voice to the message that arises within them. Friends who are frequent speakers in meeting for worship serve the meeting best when they, like all others, wait patiently for the prompting of the Inward Teacher. Friends need time to absorb each message, so it is important to allow space between messages.

Friends are encouraged to welcome the movement of the Spirit in ministry. A given message may resonate differently among worshippers or become clear with time. Individual messages may converge toward a single, vital theme that becomes evident during the meeting; at other times, apparently unrelated messages are later discovered to have an underlying unity.