In about two and one half weeks I will be getting ordained. To be honest I have really mixed emotions and have had those emotions since I first thought about getting ordained. Truly the name of this blog, “Wrestlings” describes my thoughts on being ordained. If I didn’t have to be ordained in order to get my license to marry then then I wouldn’t be at the point of being ordained.
Throughout my time at seminary I never really planned on getting ordained. If you know me then you realize that I am not a big fan of formal occasions, which is why I didn’t go to my graduation from seminary. So the thought of being ordained was just another formal occasion to me. Secondly I always viewed ordination as getting the approval of man to support the calling of God on your life. My rebellious spirit said I didn’t need that, I was confident in God’s calling on my life and that was all I needed. For a few years I boldly proclaimed I had no need to be ordained. Dumb and arrogant on my part I know.
Then the change of heart came. The government in Ohio makes you be endorsed by a denomination in order to get a license to marry and with the Southern Baptist Convention the church is given the responsibility of ordination. This led to me approaching Mark Simpson, my pastor to see about getting ordained. As I worked with him on this, my stance towards ordination changed dramatically. This change I owe in large part to Mark’s hard work and the respect that he has towards the process.
The process that Mark put together helped me to see the value of being ordained. The first thing I realized was that ordination wasn’t so much about being approved by man but rather men encouraging you in the calling that God has placed on your life. When I think about the men who will be apart of the ordination council on November 13th I realized these are men who have watched me in ministry and have the ability to speak into my life in regards to the work they see God doing. They can encourage me by helping me see my strengths and by exhorting me to work on my weaknesses. I already found myself encouraged on the night that the church approved me being ordained as I heard a couple comments people made about their whole-hearted approval of the event.
The other part of the process is writing a doctrinal paper. This is a hard thing for me to do because there are other things I would like to be doing. I have told Amy a couple of times that although writing the paper is tough for me the process of writing it will be very valuable. I believe the reason it is so hard to be motivated doing the paper is because I don’t remember facts to well so my fear is that within a couple weeks of writing the paper I will forget much of what I wrote. That is simply how my mind works. I know that it is not a lack of valuing doctrine that makes the paper hard. I strongly believe in the value of doctrine and how believers need to make the effort to know what they believe and why (1 Peter 3:15). I thank God for this paper and how it is challenging me.
Now that my heart has changed and I am excited to be ordained. So what is it that continues to give me mixed emotions. Sitting in front of peers who I have ministered among is what makes me nervous. I know they are going to seek to encourage me but it still makes me nervous. I have a deep fear of failure and for me I see this as another opportunity to fail. I know that is quite pessimistic but that is me, love me or leave me! The other thing that gets me a little worked up is being the center of attention. Oh my the thought of a service that will be to honor what God has done in my life in regards to ministry makes me a little sick to my stomach. These are the times that my introvert tendencies come out.
Despite these mixed emotions overall I am really excited about being ordained. I know this sounds a little funny but this ordination is another step in growing up. The responsibility of the call will hit me between the eyes on that night for which I thank God. Please be praying for my family and I through this ordination and as we continue to seek God’s direction in our life. I may not know where I will be serving long term but I know that my life will be poured out in service to God. The ironic thing is it is only by His power that I will effectively minister for Him.
In the end I thank the Lord for how He has used the state of Ohio to get me to pursue ordination and I thank Him for Mark and his respect for the process of ordination.
In Acts 13 we read about Paul and Barnabas being sent out by the church at Antioch. The Holy Spirit led them to do this but they took the time to pray for Paul and Barnabas and in essence to honor what God was sending them to do. They understood the need that Paul and Barnabas had for the Holy Spirit to work through them. On November 13th when I am ordained it is a moment for me to declare that I am dependent on the work of the Spirit in my life to be fruitful in ministry.