On Sunday, November 19th, I was ordained to pastoral ministry by Georgia Plain Baptist Church and the American Baptist Churches of Vermont and new Hampshire. Here are some reflections on that experience and what it means for us.
- It was about me. I admit this somewhat uncomfortably, as I don't enjoy being the center of attention. Yet the church was full of people who recognized my calling, have supported my ministry, and prayed for me to be empowered by the Spirit. Sunday was a time for me simply to receive that support, affirmation, and prayer. I was grateful and humbled for all who attended to support me--from our church, from my family, and from the community.
- It was about you, the church. Pastors are called to a church, a specific body of believers. Just as it took many people from the church to host the event itself, it has taken this church as a whole to raise me up as a pastor. On Sunday we celebrated God's work in our church. And the reason I was ordained to ministry is to "equip God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up" (Ephesians 4:11-12). As a "minister," my job is not to do the ministry but to teach and equip you, the church, to do the work of ministry.
- It was about God. One of the most powerful parts of the service last Sunday for me was our songs of praise. We raised the roof with praises to our awesome God, and in so doing we remembered that we exist for His glory alone. Another powerful part of the service for me was the laying on of hands and prayer. As I knelt on the floor, with leaders laying their hands on me and the congregation stretching out their hands toward me, I believe that something actually happened in our church and in me. God's Spirit filled me in a new way for service to His people. It's all about God.
- Other thoughts:
- For all others who played a part in the service, from setup, to greeting, to running the sound and video, to reading--thank you! And the Social Committee did an awesome job with the reception!
- No, you don't need to call me Reverend Smith! Although I am a "Rev" on paper, my role is still a pastor to this church.
To God be the glory.