if the way be clear(ed)

The Presbyterian call to ministry is a 3-part call: first God, then self, then others. All three need to be evident in the process for a call to ministry to be validated. This 3-part call is present and recognizable in every aspect of every call to service and ministry in the PC(USA), be it for an elder or deacon, a seminary student, a church staff person, and especially for a Pastor. This is a very good thing, because it seeks to allow others to validate and affirm an individual’s desire to serve in the life and ministry of a particular congregation or non-parish ministry. Think of it sort of as a checks-and-balances system.

This can also be a heart-wrenching process as the third part of the call enters the equation. When we rely upon others to affirm us, we are essentially putting decisions about our future into their hands and subjectivity comes into play. Relying upon another human to make decisions about your life for you can be very frustrating and discouraging. We humans are fallible, broken, and often can get in the way of ourselves and others; intentionally or not.

But our faith lies in the first part of the call process – God’s calling to us in the particular ministry.

Sometimes being faithful is the hardest part of it all…

And that’s where I am at this point…waiting on the way to be clear…

As I mentioned in my announcement about The Next Chapter, I have accepted a call as the Campus Minister at Murray State University with the intention for ordination to Ministry of Word and Sacrament. I started in the call on July 1st, with the intent to meet the next hurdles in the ordination process in August and be ordained in late August/ early September. Unfortunately that’s not happening for me anymore at this time. And I’m not going to lie and say that I’m not disappointed. The third part of the call has interfered with the process to the detriment and inconvenience of part 2, and I’d like to think part 1, too.

Or at least the process that I wanted, the way I wanted it.
So maybe it’s not part 3 interfering as much as part 1 reminding me who’s really in charge here.

All that said, it’s with a heavy heart that I say that at this moment the way is not fully clear at this point for me to be ordained on September 1st as originally thought and planned. It has nothing to do with me as the candidate for ordination; it has everything to do with Presbyterian Polity first. Then it will have everything to do with me. But polity wins out and we must create the position correctly so that then a person may be ordained into it. Decently & orderly.

It turns out that I’ve accepted a call to an ordained position that’s never been ordain-able (a validated ministry) before, even though it’s been held by an ordained pastor for nearly 20 years. That’s a technicality that the campus ministry board who hired me didn’t know existed until we moved forward with plans for my ordination.
Soooo…we wait. And we petition the presbytery to see the ministry as a validated one so that the board can then present a candidate for examination and ordination. That’s when it would become about me as the candidate again.
These past few weeks have not been fun as we’ve worked through a lot of “he said”/”she said” stuff, but we’ve all learned that communication really is important for success.
At this point my examination as a candidate is on hold until the Commission on Ministry (the ones who examine candidates for ordained positions) has a chance to hear a petition from the campus ministry board about becoming a validated ministry to hold an ordained pastor as the campus minister. That meeting will take place in early September, and if it’s approved, we anticipate me being brought forth for examination as the candidate for the position in early October. After that, I will still need to preach before presbytery and the next meeting of Western Kentucky Presbytery won’t be until November.
Therefore, the earliest anything could happen for me & ordination would be in later November.
So, at this point I ask your prayers. It’s been a very discouraging & disappointing part of the journey over the past three weeks as we’ve really dug into what the next steps are and where it all went wrong. But, we’re pressing forward, moving onward and looking on the bright side…and praying that it WILL happen soon.
Stay tuned. You’ll be re-notified as progression happens, so stay tuned. And please keep me, the campus ministry board & the Commission on Ministry in your prayers over these next few months. We all covet them.

2 thoughts on “if the way be clear(ed)

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