Recently, I attended my final interview for ordination with the Evangelical Covenant Church. I thought I’d post some of my positions here for you to read and interact with…
I haven’t always been a “denomination guy.” But among the many things that I’ve come to appreciate about the Covenant is it’s high standards for its pastors. Not only are is our beliefs tested to ensure orthodoxy, but we’re also strongly encouraged to serve with healthy practice.
Today, I want to break out Part 1 of my section on Calling: What does it mean to be “called into ministry?”
I was sitting in the General Manager’s office of the television station where I had been working for 3 years. I was with the Creative Director and the head of Human Resources. Throughout the meeting, I was reminded why the GM was so successful; she was an exceptionally skilled negotiator. “If you agree to stay on through the May rating period, I’m prepared to offer you a $10,000 bonus right now AND if you stay through November, we’ll extend another $10,000 bonus at year-end.”
I tried hard to keep my leg from shaking the table, but finally the words seemed to echo as they fell out of my mouth, “Thank you so much for everything you’ve offered, but… (gulp) I think God is calling me to something else.” The words rang heavy in the air, but shortly after that the conversation was over.
This was the end of career as a broadcast television producer and the beginning of a new path towards serving as a pastor in the Lord’s church.
That meeting was in 2004 and it was there that I left my previous career in broadcast television for “something else.” My ministerial career is now 11 years full. Since leaving television, I’ve served in para-church ministry, on the pastoral staff of a large church, as an Associate Pastor and now as the (Senior) Pastor of a very exciting mission-focused church.
Today, I remain as committed as I was on that day in the GM’s office to a lifelong ministry of serving the church, sharing the Good News and building up the Kingdom.
I see the process of ordination as a vital and permanent affirmation of the commitment I have made in my heart: to make serving the church the dominant priority of my life. I’m especially excited to be considered for ordination with the Evangelical Covenant Church with whom I have discovered a nurturing community of friends and colleagues.
I’ve always understood the sense of “pastoral call” as having three aspects;
There would be the sense of the Holy Spirit’s leading,
The presence of the gifts needed to fulfill the duties and
the affirmation from a body of elders.
Too often I have talked to people who “feel called” into ministry but sometimes, sadly, there isn’t the gifting (or more often there isn’t the commitment to developing the gifting; attending seminary and serving humbly in a church). And at other times, I’ve had friends who were frustrated because they “feel called” but no one recognizes them.