For the past couple of weeks, we have been talking about this process that I have been going through in order to become ordained. To be honest this is something that I was not very familiar with before I started going through this process. So I thought I would write up a little bit about what it is and what this process looks like.
Ordination is the way in which the church affirms the call that someone has to be a pastor. There were three major steps or we could call them rounds, that I had to go through before I could be ordained. The first step is getting my Masters of Divinity and passing my seminary exam. In this exam three professors and a pastor interviewed me for about an hour. They were able to ask me any questions that relate to the history of the church, the Bible, theology, or anything else they might think of. After I passed this portion in March I moved onto round two.
Round two involves a similar interview, along with sermon evaluations. This round is done by the Christian Reformed Church denomination, which is the denomination that we are a part of. Here there are five pastors that are from all over our denomination. Here they evaluate three of my sermons and also ask me any questions they want. This portion happened in May and after this I moved onto round three.
The last round happened on October 2 down in Modesto. This potion was done by all of the Christian Reformed Churches in central California. Here there are thirty pastors and about thirty elders that get to observe and ask questions. The first part started with a sermon I preached at Granite Springs which was evaluated by two pastors. I also had to submit two other sermons that were evaluated. Then I had two other examiners who led the next portions. The first examiner asked me questions in what was called the practical section. He asked me questions about who I am and why I believe God has called me to be a pastor, what my devotional life is like, to questions about what I would do in certain situations. After I passed the practical section, another pastor asked me questions about theology. After the two pastors finished their sections they would open it up to any of the pastors or elders to ask any other questions that they had for me. After the questioning was finished, they asked me step out while the all voted to affirm me as a pastor.
This can be seen as three parts, but it can also be seen as being approved by my education institution, being approved by the church at large, and last being approved by the church locally. Now you may have read that and thought to yourself that sounds difficult and I don’t know if I would want to go through that. I will affirm you and say it was challenging and I have no great desire to go through it again.
I do think that this was an important process, because I believe it does two things. Personally, this has been a great time of encouragement for me. It has affirmed the belief that I have, that God has called me to do this and also that I have been prepared to be a pastor. The other benefit I believe is for you as a church, knowing that your pastors have gone through this. It lets you know that someone can’t just walk off the street and start a church, but that the pastors in our church have been called and properly prepared to be a pastor. Now that you have seen what I have gone through to get to this point, I invite you to join me and Granite Springs on October 21 where I will be ordained as a Pastor at Granite Springs.