Sunday, June 3, 2007

QUESTIONS ABOUT ORDINATION

In my last blog I talked about how great the recent worship experience was when we ordained James Clonts, Rick Jones, and Kenny Kelly to the gospel ministry. During the ordination process over the last couple of months, some excellent questions have been asked. Let me raise several of them and respond to each one.

1. Who decides who gets ordained to the ministry? Not trying to be funny—but God does. From the human perspective it can be a two-way street. Most of the time the candidate requests ordination from his church. However, there have been many occasions in church history where a congregation recognizes God’s anointing on an individual and says to him, “We believe God is calling you into the ministry.” This was the case with the well-known Baptist preacher, George W. Truett, who for years pastored the First Baptist Church of Dallas.

2. What are the credentials for someone to be ordained? The primary credential is for the person to be God-called. And then the ordaining body needs to recognize and affirm that person’s calling. Although ordination traditions vary from church to church and denomination to denomination, being called by God is the key factor. Some wait until the completion of formal education. Some wait until they are called to their first-time ministry setting. In the case of our recent three, all were already serving in their respective pastoral ministry positions. So we had an excellent opportunity to set aside James, Rick, and Kenny in one service.

3. What is the purpose of an ordaining council? The council sets up a time to meet with the candidate who has requested ordination. Those participating on the council question the candidate about his salvation and call experience, passion, career objectives, knowledge of the Bible, personal struggles, spiritual disciplines, etc. In other words, the candidate is open game for any questions that will help the council affirm the person’s calling. If the council affirms, then he is presented to the local congregation for the whole body to place its voice of support behind the individual. Then, as patterned in the New Testament, the congregation conducts a laying on of hands ceremony as a way to encourage the person to pursue his God-given calling.

Once again, Chapin Baptist members should count it a wonderful honor and privilege to know that God is calling people from our church into full-time Christian ministry. May their numbers multiply.

No comments: