Friday, January 23, 2015

Great Novel in the Making

It is the eve of my annual interview with the Board of Ministry. This year I have decided to petition the board for ordination. I petitioned the board last year but knew at the time that it was a long shot because I have only served in part-time ministry (odd phrase considering that I don't know how any minister would consider themselves in PART-TIME, my calling isn't part-time) and I had only had my district license for three years. So this year there is a good chance with the board's and district's blessing that I could be ordained in April, 2015. So I find myself reflecting back over this journey.

April 29, 2009, I attended an ordination service for the Alabama South District Church of the Nazarene as a delegate for my local church. I was serving as Children's Ministry Director at my local church and I had been praying for direction in what I should do in my life. I had been unemployed for over a year and seeking full-time employment in my career field of social service. Just a note I had a calling to ministry in 1996 to be a youth minister but I had long moved from that calling and God. Thankfully God had never moved and in 2007 I was saved. There I was listening as the General Superintendent at the time spoke, my heart began to hear the gentle calling of God. At an alter in Millbrook, AL, I was sanctified and received/reaffirmed the calling to be a minister for God. The awesome thing is that over time I learned that I wasn't the only woman called to ministry in that ordination service, there were several others. One of those women is a lead pastor and one of the other women I have the joy of serving alongside at my current church. I call them friends. God is Amazing!

That first year or so was a time of discernment of what the call meant and a lot of clarity. I went from a deacon to an elder track in that first year or so. I began preaching here and there. I moved from Children's Ministry to College and Career. As time went on I began to meet with the Board of Ministry, I believe this year is my 6th meeting with them. There have been some good times and lows and times when I asked "God are you sure? ME?" but always with an assurance and peace that "YES!" Now, I have been a youth pastor for a year and half at a small church, my first assignment away form that home church where everything began. 

There have been great challenges and achievements within my studies. I have enjoyed getting to know others and learning from professors who are knowledgeable in their areas of expertise. In Fall, 2013, I finished my last class in the course of study. I granted completed status with my course of study by the Board of Ministry in January, 2014. But there is a desire to work on getting my masters. I feel as if I am just on the edge of great knowledge. I have the foundational tools but there is so much more to learn. I'm hungry to go deeper and to have a greater understanding of the Bible than I already do. And there is always a book I want or need to read....the reading list keeps growing.

My life story is like a great novel. The beginning is inviting and sets up the plot, but it isn't until you get to the middle that you begin to see the true complexity of the main character and subsequently all the other characters. I pray that this chapter of my life will end with another Ordaniation Service in late April, 2015 but this time it will be me with the elders laying hands on and praying over. If it doesn't occur this year, it is okay. That just means God has more for this chapter. But if the chapter ends with that moment, be prepared for this novel to begin to take on new and exciting adventures full of the highs and lows, twist and turns, faith and love that any great novel demands. 

photo credit: dklimke via photopin cc

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