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.