After 12 years of ministry, and 8 years as a candidate, it’s going to be official! Woohoo! Next weekend, at the Annual Conference of the Michigan Area of the United Methodist Church (say that 10 times fast), I’m getting ordained! But what does that mean?
First, not much. I’ve been a provisional deacon for 3 years, appointed by the bishop to a ministry of service, word, compassion, and justice. I already had Rev. in front of my name, and I finished seminary in 2013. No, ordination doesn’t mean that I’m going to get moved somewhere else. Deacons like me (those with a specialized ministry to bridge with the community) aren’t part of the (itinerant) system by which pastors are moved between churches. I’m still going to be your Minister of Worship & Arts, and my day-to-day work isn’t going to change because of this new thing.
Second, it means a lot. All Christians are called to ministry. Some, though, are crafted and called to ministries of this kind of leadership. In our tradition, leadership isn’t something taken, it’s something given. When the faith community looks for leaders, we look for knowledge, health, effectiveness, and the work of the Spirit in and through them. That doesn’t mean that ordained ministers know everything, can do everything, or have everything together. Ordination is the final step where the church, that’s you, affirms God-given leadership in this person.
So next week, when the bishop lays his hands on my head, and when I pledge my life to a ministry of word, service, compassion, and justice, know that I will feel the weight of your hands, and the responsibility you entrust to my care. I will also continue to feel your support, lifting me up, helping me grow as a leader, so that Royal Oak First might continue to transform the world through love.
Thank you, from my deepest heart, for loving me into this new phase of ministry.
Yours in service,