Friday, May 23, 2008

The Monument Journey Towards Ordination - Volume 8

On our last episode of General Hospital…

It is really difficult to keep forward momentum in this project. I keep wanting to go back and fill in something that I missed. For instance, I could go back and talk about my experience in Disciple Bible Study (mentioned in vol. 2). After I had first expressed my call to ministry, Pastor John had suggested I get more involved. One of the ways I did this was in Disciple Bible Study. I cannot begin to tell you what an amazing impact that study had on my life and call to ministry.

I was with our Bishop, Joel Martinez this past week for his annual meeting with the class of ordinands. Part of his opening reflection was about how it is important to remember those people who helped us and walked with us in our faith journey and our call to ministry. The members of that Disciple Bible Study we are all incredibly important people in my journey.
I spent two and a half (and often three) hours a week with eleven other men and women studying the Bible, praying and discussing God’s work in our lives. I learned more about God, scripture and myself in those nine months than I ever have since. That is where I really got to know Rev. Barbara Ruth, my current District Superintendent (and another person who will lay hands on me as the Bishop ordains me at Annual Conference) and my friend Katie who walked with me through some amazingly wonderful and difficult parts of my call to ministry.

It was also during this class that I became very clear about my call. I walked into the class the first week with my brand new Bible having never really read anything from it. During the second to last class, the group is to take time reflecting on each other’s gifts. It was there that I first heard my internal call confirmed by others. I was quite shocked to hear my new friends express that, in me, they saw gifts and a calling to full-time Christian ministry.

I have amazing trust in God’s ability to get things done, but I just can’t imagine that I would have followed my call had it not been for that class. It wasn’t just what I learned, but what I became through it. I guess it is really fitting for a person called to a ministry of deepening discipleship to have been nurtured in his call during a class called Disciple.

As I reflect on this, it really reminds me how important it is for all of us to be aware of those around us who may be wrestling with God’s call on their lives and how important it is for us to be that voice of confirmation. This doesn’t always have to be about ordained ministry. If someone says to you, “You know, I just feel like I might want to work with youth,” and you see in them gifts and talents for that ministry, God may be calling you to tell them that, to confirm what God is placing on their heart. Sometimes confirmation needs to come in the midst of ministry. If you see someone following God’s call and doing a good job at it, God may be calling you to let them know that they are valued.

I am also reminded of the importance of community in our journey as Christians. We are all called to ministry of some sort and that call and confirmation most often come to us in community, in the Body of Christ we call the church. The place where this community does its best work is in small groups, especially small groups that are focused on scripture.

More soon, I promise I will get back to the cliffhanger ending of the last episode!


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