It was 29 years ago, June 18, on a Saturday morning, that I appeared before a select group of pastors and church leaders to answer just three basic questions regarding:
- My conversion
- My calling
- My convictions.
Conversion...this was my testimony, how I came to trust Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Calling...how was it I believed God was calling me into the ministry.
Convictions...my view of various doctrinal and church-related matters. And this was what took the bulk of the roughly five hour council. You see, a regurgitation of doctrinal views I had in my statement was no sufficient. These men not only wanted to know what I believed, but why I believed it. And it wasn't just the basic doctrines either. I had to give my perspective on hot-button, potentially divisive doctrinal issues. And for good measure, the men came up with local church scenarios that would fill volumes of pastoral horror manuals. Some of the men seemed to delight in taking "the other side" of the argument, just to see how I would respond. The time was designed to see if I was serious about what I felt God was calling me to do.
In the end, I was asked to leave the room so the council could deliberate. A short time later, they called me back and informed me that the council had unanimously voted to "recognize my ordination." Why did they phrase it that way? Glenn Solum, my senior pastor, put it this way: "We are not here to ordain Tim. God has already ordained him. All we are doing is bearing witness to and affirming what God has already done." And that was the most sobering thing I've heard, as once again I was reminded that all of life and ministry is not about me, it's all about God.
So it's the 29th year since I became an "ordained minister." And if it sounds like I'm boasting, it's not because I'm "Captain Clergy," but rather I boast in the awesomeness of my Lord and Savior. I'm just a servant...yes, at times a rebellious one...but a servant nonetheless. Anniversaries give us the opportunity to look back at milestones and see what God has done and look ahead to what He will be doing. Being between ministries, I don't know what the future holds, but (as the old saying goes) I know who holds the future. Thank you Lord for letting me formally serve you for almost three decades.
These are pics from the formal ordination service held a couple of weeks after the council.