The Road to Ordination

April 3, 2008 at 7:21 pm 6 comments

Boston Avenue UMC, TulsaMaybe it’s an ironic coincidence, but my letter about the procedures for ordination at Annual conference is dated April 1st, 2008! I also found that my ordination will take place the same day as my wedding anniversary, so that’s really a convenient way of remembering when it happened. I’m terrible with dates, so that’s a great thing to me.

I’m excited about my ordination, but it seems like it’s been forever since I walked into my district superintendent’s office in Oklahoma City and told him I was trying to discern whether or not I had a call to pastoral ministry. It felt like a secret mission, because I went while on lunch break from the research lab where I was a student at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Later, when I told the professor who ran my lab about my decision to leave the PhD program I was in to pursue a call to ministry, he gave me a couple weeks to rest and think about it. After I came back still determined, he was adamant that I talk to the chair of our department to share this news. After talking to her, she looked at me like I had just told her I wanted to swim with the dolphins and said, “Are you sure you don’t want to just be a social worker or something?”

Ninety-six hours of seminary education (currently at $444 per credit hour), four interviews with the Board of Ordained Ministry, and nearly three years of pastoring two congregations later, and I’ve received the letter telling I’ll be ordained at Annual Conference (pending the vote at the clergy session on Monday, of course). To be honest, I feel more relief than anything, even though I am looking forward to ordination. I haven’t worn a stole during my probationary period, so there will at least be a visible difference when I come back home to the congregations I serve the following week. Other than that, I wonder if I’ll feel different.

It’s been a long process (have I emphasized that enough yet?), but it’s been a process where I’ve met an incredible number of great people. It’s a dirty shame I only get to have two full members of the conference stand with me during my ordination. To really acknowledge everyone who had a part in my pursuit of the call to ministry, I’d need far more.  Come to think of it, I’d need a bunch of spots for lay-people too!

I can’t think of a graceful way to end this, and that’s probably because it isn’t over yet.  It probably never will be. So, I’ll just say this: to be continued…

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jmeunier  |  April 3, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Congratulations, Matt! May God continue to use for his ends.

    Reply
  • 2. rds  |  April 4, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Would all the really tall guys please stand in the middle of the back row for pictures please…

    see you there.

    rds
    <

    Reply
  • 3. Matt  |  April 4, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Haha, so true. I can’t remember ever being in a group picture without being back and center!

    Reply
  • 4. Brett  |  April 6, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Yes, the vote. Excellent — my truck needs washed. Were I to come to Annual Conference with a dirty truck I would be unable to vote yes on anyone, because I would find the lack of cleanliness… disturbing.

    Reply
  • 5. The Thief  |  April 7, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    I remember being there last year… immediately before the vote, I took the best intentional pratfall in the history of the West Ohio Confernce…

    Since my Ordination was just being recognized (from another denomination) I did not have an Elder to walk with me. In fact, I was walking by myself until Bryan Bucher (whom I met via the blogosphere) saw that and rectified the situation.

    Reply
  • 6. MusicMin  |  April 21, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Wow! I was so glad I found this through google. I am currently a Deacon Candidate in the UMC and have so many questions. I hope that you will post more! Please tell us if you really do feel different afterwards!

    May God bless you and your ministry.

    Reply

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