Next Sunday, January 17, we will be holding my ordination service. I have known that I wanted to be ordained since I began working towards a career in ministry when I was in college, but I suppose I had not spent a ton of time thinking about what it actually means to be ordained until recently. Here are some of my thoughts regarding ordination:
1. Ordination is a big deal, especially if you believe that it in some way relates to the ordination of priests in the Old Testament. I realize there are significant differences, but in some ways the symbolism is the same. The priests went through an extensive process of cleansing and devotion to prepare for ordination. It seems right to do some form of that as I prepare for next Sunday. When the first priests were preparing for their ordination, it took seven days of sacrifices before they were prepared to receive God’s blessing. My hope is that in this week leading up to the ordination service I would be also see this week as a week to prepare and meditate upon what God has called me to do.
2. Ordination should be a major life event. We don’t get many major life events. We have our first day of college, our wedding day, the day a child is born, or buying a first house. All of these are big days, life-changing days. I think that ordination should also be one of these. I think that after ordination life should seem different, just as it does when you realize that you are married. Of course you were a minister before and you are after, but ordination should change something about the way you see the world. I don’t believe that ordination should be something that is simply done for the tax break or because it just the next step.
3. Ordination is something that you need to work towards. It does not need to be easy to become an ordained minister. I honestly believe that some theological education should be required. I think a knowledge of the Bible and theology is important. I think that to be ordained as a Southern Baptist, an immense amount of knowledge about the denomination, its history and doctrine, should be required. I also believe that experience doing ministry should be required. Before working in the church and ministering with people, my view of working in church life was extremely skewed.
When you consider the task that God has called us to, it is humbling. Out of the billions of people in the world, God has called us to serve as His special servants who are to lead people to Him. It is a high calling, and when we treat it as such, we will feel that more empowered by He who called us.