[I found this post that I started and didn’t finish several months ago. I am finally getting around to finish it today, so that’s why the first part talks about being recently ordained]
A little over 24 hours ago, my church ordained me. I am officially a pastor now.
In many ways, I’ve been working towards this for about 10 years. It’s a monumental accomplishment. However, life doesn’t feel any different today than it did yesterday. My son woke up too early for my liking this morning. My husband went to work. I watched Let’s Make a Deal while cooking eggs for breakfast. I worked from home while the baby napped and went on a date with my husband like I do every Thursday. It was a good, but very typical day.
There was a point in my life when I was rarin’ to be ordained. I thought things would be dramatically different if I finally were a pastor. I thought I’d be doing exactly what I want to do ministry-wise and no door would be closed to me. I thought I’d be magically endowed with wisdom to deal with any challenge that would come my way. Over time, God has been reminding me over and over that it doesn’t work that way.
Three thoughts popped into my head today as I reflected on my ordination.
- No title can give you the authority inappropriate for your character and/or maturity. In the past when I was really itching to be ordained, I realize looking back that it’s a good thing that I wasn’t. I wanted the authority and power (I thought) the title would give me; however, I didn’t have the character to back it up. People will follow a title for a while, but they will quickly stop if the person isn’t a person of character. I’m very glad for the ways God has grown and shaped me the past several years because I need to say as a pastor, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
- Not having a title can never take away the call given to you by God. In many ways, I feel the same as yesterday because God has revealed time and again that my calling comes from him. I wasn’t suddenly called to ministry when the pastors and elders laid hands on me last night. They were simply affirming what God has already done. One card I received last night said it perfectly, “I thought you already were a pastor!” The confidence that can only come from God’s calling has enabled me to continue ministering the past several years regardless of title. [It’s enabling me to continue ministering even now, since I stepped down to be a mom. My calling doesn’t change because of my title, it simply changes forms.]
- Ministry is a lifetime. Ordination was a beautiful experience, but it’s not the finish line. It was fun to see loved ones speak on my behalf and to celebrate with others that work God has done and is doing in my life. Life and ministry continue. God’s work through me will take many different forms over a lifetime, some public and some seemingly insignificant. I hope that I recognize his hand in every moment and enjoy the ride.