4/15/2007

Ten Reasons to Wait Until 30 to ordain Ministers

Why I think we shouldn't rush ordination so much... [MORE]

33 comments:

Pastor Rod said...

Keith,

I was ordained at the age of 24, and I was impatient for the process to be completed. (That was 26 years ago.)

I was serious about my responsibilities as a pastor. But I didn't see the act of ordination itself as a big deal. I was mostly focused on being taken seriously and on earning this badge of legitimacy.

I believe that I was mature for my age. (All us old guys think so.) Yet, I'm not sure that it was wise to entrust me with with the responsibility and burden of being a solo pastor at such a young age, much less granting me the imprimatur of ordination.

I would be in favor of setting a minimum age for ordination at 30. We could still let the young guys "get in over their heads" as pastors of small churches before then.

Besides, my experience is that our denomination (The Wesleyan Church) doesn't consider ordination that significant. Sure, they try to make a big deal out of the event, but the continuing state doesn't seem to mean much.

We seem to be more interested in salesmen than theologians. (But that's a different rant for a different comment thread.)

Excellent points. Keeping asking the tough questions.

Rod

jim said...

Jesus wasn't "ordained" until He was 30, right?

Craig Moore said...

I hope the process of ordination in the Wesleyan Church has changed since I was ordained. I served the church for one year, filled out a form and was ordained an Elder. I never met before a board, never was interviewed or examined.

In the Untied Methodist Church it is a different process. It takes at least 4-5 years in the Florida Conference after seminary to be ordained an Elder. One must complete rigorous interviews with boards of ministry at 2 levels, complete papers on 4 different topics at both levels and complete a number of contingency programs.

This system weeds out the wanna-bes and by the time you jump all the hoops, you are pretty sure you want to be a United Methodist minister. Plus, with guranteed appointments, you can't just ordain anyone.

Robyn said...

Do Wesleyans actually ordain ministers two years out of college?Incredible!

Kevin K. Wright said...

I think delaying ordination would also encourage more students to undergo further training at a seminary or divinity school. As long as ordination is right around the corner, why should a student "waste" time going off to school for 3 more years. That is unless the process is set up in such a way that further education, and doctrinal as well as personal maturity are valued. If our procedures are based soley on pragmatism, then our convictions mean nothing.

Twinsfan1 said...

I was ordained last summer at age 41. I am bi-vocational and have been pastoring at this church for going on 7 years.

Being bi-vocational at a small church, I had to take the alternate route - correspondence classes and intensive classes on-site somewhere.

This gave me mucho time to see if this was really what I thought God wanted me to do.

And since I'd been in the "real world" (and still am) for a number of years before pastoring, I'm able to relate to a ton of people that a "newbie" just out of college/seminary may not have, given that for many, their entire context has either been the church or school.

So for me, I'm almost of the opinion that internships should include at part-time secular job in the town in which they are interning!

BTW, I'm not sure ordination is for a lifetime. Here's why: there is nothing in Scripture to give this indication that I can find.

The only "ordination" as like to think of it was when Paul and Barnabas were "set aside" for the ministry the Holy Spirit had for them. And yes, they were in it for the long haul, but is there example enough to make a doctrine out of it?

Is it not possible that God ordains someone for a specific TASK instead of a CAREER? And that when the specific task is over, that God sends them back to whatever they were doing before?

I don't know.!

One of the reason this is a valid question is that there may be people who have been ordained, and having gone through a season of ministry, might feel that God is leading them out of church-type ministry and back to the secular workforce to be an influence there.

Again, I don't know, so just thinking out loud here...

Erik and Mary said...

Coach,
I don't disagree with waiting longer to ordain ministers, in fact I support it, however I think there is something missing in this column. I was ordained 1 year out of undergraduate work because I had done ministry all through college and was a licensed minister, Mary & I were pumped about being ordained and committing our lives to the church, there were some other circumstances which guided us a different direction though.

In our situation, we were so in love with the church that we couldn't stand by and watch it implode (that being our local church). Things were being done half way and with no focus (at least no Biblical focus, maybe just the pastor's focus on himself) and we couldn't stand by and watch it happen. We stood up for what we thought God wanted us to and received little to no backing for our thoughts. Granted, we are young and idealistic but there is a place for that and we were simply dismissed by our entire denominational district.
That was almost 5 years ago and do you know how much contact we have had with our beloved Wesleyan church in the form of our district? Two phone calls, both of which were dialed by my hand and one meeting which was because of the phone call I initiated and nothing more.
I write all of that to say that I think maybe there is a breakdown in the church (the denominations?) and the leadership of the church in trying to love and care for it's ministers. Who know's where Mary and I would be now if our superintendent or ANYONE else in our district would have shown a little bit of interest in it's young, newly ordained minister.
Should the church be that cold? Should young Ministers be forgotten? Should young ministers just deal with the issues and not speak up until they have "experience"? Maybe God takes a while before he will, himself, ordain a young minister or maybe He ordains them from before they were formed and the church misses the boat. That's what I think.

Thanks Coach.

Erik Timmons

Larry said...

Keith ... it is worth noting that in The Wesleyan Church, ordination is not for life. It can be and sometimes is revoked.

Perhaps we ordain people quicker because we have a different, somewhat lower, view of ordination than do some denominations. For us, it seems to function as a "license" to do ministry rather than as a lifetime appointment.

Your thoughts?

Larry said...

Young idealistic ministers who "stand up for what they think God wabts them to do and complain about little to no backing for their thoughts" is precisely the reason to have ordination committees mentor men in their 20's--they still think they hear directly from God what they should do and the laymen know hardly anything--young men right out of Bible school all think they have all the answers and the "church they love" just need leaders like them to do what God is telling them needs done. Perfect example of using care in ordaining novices.

Keith Drury said...

To Larry #1:
Unless things have changed in TWC since I studied it ordination can not be revoked but credentials to practice can be removed and locked up... in some cases with the possibility of being "restored" but not by re-ordination. Has this changed?

Keith Drury said...

Eric&Mary:
Ouch! yeah I hear ya. Ordination means the young minister passes from being "under the care of an ordination board" to on-your-own-grownup ministry. Your situation is a good example of how a licensed minister still under the protection and care of a district mother-hen-board can be rescued in such a situation. once you are ordained you are on your own in many denominations... like a medical doctor who no longer is an intern--he or she has scant supervision.

Erik and Mary said...

Larry & Coach,
Thanks for the thoughts on what I wrote. I do have to say that I had no intention of indicating that "young inexperienced ministers" know everything, or much for that matter. I was simply trying to establish that thoughts should be considered by the local church & the Church. That doesn't seem to be a popular view and possibly a view which some "more established" ministers are threatened by. That's an entire issue in itself.

I think of the young church and see that God established so many people to do ministry and used so many others to "oversee" them. I didn't realize that it was the intention of the church today to grow'em and leave'em. That seems... completely contradictory to what the church is for but what do I know?
I guess the simple point was, "does the church have an obligation to it's own?" The answer was made very clear and seems to be definite no matter how disappointing that may be to me.

I didn't mean for my first response to be too harsh, just thinking out loud from my limited experience. Thanks for the opportunity.

Erik

Ken said...

Keith,

I graduated in 1992 from IWU, and was ordained two years later in '94. (As a sidenote, I was married in '92, so had only been married two years when ordained, and our first child was born in '93. It fits later...)

A couple thoughts came to mind as I read your article...

1) I didn't go to seminary because I was anxious to get out into the "real world" and do "real world ministry." I felt like I'd been in a bit of a bubble at IWU, and didn't want to delay "getting my life started." Let me tell you, I wish I'd gone to seminary. I was unprepared for some of the real-life stuff happening in churches. Though I'd grown up in the church (and a good one at that), I could have used additional training and seasoning. I could have used more theological study and challenge. I'm 38 now, and I've been in full-time ministry for almost 15 years (8 as a staff pastor, and 7 as a senior pastor), and I still feel at times like I'm playing theological catch-up with some really smart guys in ministry. I believe that if our denomination would encourage more of our young pastors-to-be to further their education, and somehow tie ordination to that, it would be a good thing.

2) I had only been married two years when I got ordained, and had been a dad for about six months when my ordination took place. I mention this because the first year of my marriage was horrible. Don't get me wrong; I love my wife, Karen, and we have a GREAT marriage today, but we were a mess back then. And we were faking it with everybody, including those in my first church and those who oversaw my ordination process. Most of the problems were my fault (truly), and I believe that delaying ordination gives a person more time to work out the kinks of marriage and parenthood (if they're married; this doesn't apply if they're single) before receiving such significant endorsement. And that's what ordination is, isn't it? Endorsement. I had a horrible marriage and was incredibly immature, yet a bunch of people said, "Hey, he has the gifts and talents and obvious blessing of God" when I was a real schmuck. Waiting a few years to have better observation might have been helpful.

I've got other thoughts, too, such as...

*Why didn't the ordaining board ask tougher questions of me before giving their seal of approval? I was expecting a gut-wrenching, soul-searching, mind-probing day, but I got a fairly easy pass into the "ordained boys' club."

*Why did so many people encourage me to get licensed and ordained for "the tax benefit"? I had a LOT of pastor friends and mentors talk more about Uncle Sam's assistance than God's holy blessing when it came to this event...

*Why is there so little follow up denominationally when an ordained person slips? I have a friend, Tony, who received very little care or assistance when his wife walked out. Today, he still loves God but doesn't serve the church. If we're going to ordain people we'd better stay better connected with their life and ministry long-term.

I think your article is really interesting, and deserves more serious consideration denominationally. I'm sure I was more immature than some people out there, but a delayed ordination might save a lot of churches, districts, and people from significant headaches.

-Ken DePeal

david warren said...

Wow, another great discussion Dr. Drury. I have worked with ministerial students for over 20 years now in the Church of the Nazarene. I've served on the Board of Ministerial Studies, then secretary of that board and now as a district secretary and my greatest fear is to ordain someone who doesn't have the call of God on their ministry or have the "gifts and graces" for minstry. It has really hit home for me as I now sign ordaination certificates. Ordaining to soon is a real problem. Recently the CotN went back to 3 years of full time service for a solo Sr. Pastor and 4 years for an associate before ordination instead of 2 and 3 years respectively. Waiting until 30 or even lengthing the years of service would be a positive step in my mind. One of the big pushes from headquaters in the CotN has been to help students understand that ordination was not a given when you've met the study and time requirements. That it was not automatic upon jumping through certain hoops. I'm not sure we've accomplished that yet but I believe this has been a step in the right direction. Ordination is not,reversiable for us. You can surrender your credentials, or have them taken away ( i.e morals problem) but you are never unordained. It is for life. Making sure it's correct is important and sometimes only more time is the way to tell.

Keith Drury said...

KEN DEPEAL: Your first section is so well put and vivid I can add nothing-a real story/confession that points up the situation in some cases. As to your other points (most especially the value of seminary which I need to wrote about in the future... But to your main point...amen! Don't get me started on the tax thing... or softball questions. But I might take the bait on the "care and feeding of ministers hurt-attacked-fallen... Erik above has pointed that up so well... do we need more of a Catholic "mother church" approach to ministry--where the denomination-as-spouse has the same commitment to the marriage as the newly ordained minister? Are will willing to take the "supervision" and "accountability" that goes along with that? I am. Are we all?

DAVE WARREN Among other great thoughts you've raised the issue of "Ordination entitlement." Steve Lennox (who comments on my blogs over dinner not online raised that issue Monday--he says some candidates feel entitled to a quick ordination after meeting the MINIMUM requirements are are offended and feel rejected when the board suggests waiting... he and you are right... I wrote the original article to boards rushing the process but I could have directed it to candidates just as easily.

ONE MORE THING I do not favor a fixed age--such as 30--for ordination... I know some low 20's that are clearly ready to be ordained--not just way-back-then when I was ordained but now too. I just wish the standard was "Generally we ordain candidates 5-6-7 years after finishing college but in some cases we ordain earlier--in most cases just don't expect ordination much faster than a medical doctor enters full practice--after all, the only thing at risk from a medical doctor is the life of a patient--in this case it is souls at risk.

dnephew said...

There seems to be an underlying assumption in all your comments here that real ministry requires ordination. Why? On its face this is clearly inaccurate. We all know of some ordained ministers who are not doing any kind of ministry (unfortunately some of these are actually employed as pastors). On the other hand, we also know many people who are not ordained and who will never be ordained but are highly effective ministers.

Isn't ordination just a relic of Roman Catholic apostolic succession? Is it really needed for anything (except for maybe getting unwarranted tax benefits from the IRS)?

Why wait to ordain someone at 30, 40, 50 or 60? Why ordain at all? I am not convinced it serves any significant purpose other than taxes and a convenient way to regulate overall church employment practice? Its seems to be just a fancy way to keep the unordained in their place.

Is there some theology of ordination based in Scripture? The only biblical reference the Wesleyans give is to Mark 3:14 which relates to the calling of the apostles--there it is--Wesleyans believe ordination is no more than the Roman tradition of apostolic succession. Is there any support for the tradition to be found in the Bible, reason or experience?

The suggestion that delayed ordination will encourage pastors to seek more education doesn't sounds like an improvement. Ordination already establishes an artificial and apparently unwarranted barrier to ministry and ministry employment within the church. Unfortunately seminary training tends to aggravate this by lulling seminary graduates into thinking they are the MBAs of the church--with all their specialized training and secret knowledge they will "manage" all the little folks and show them how to do "real" ministry. Many seminarians have genuine ability to do ministry, many don't--almost never is this related to the seminary education. On the bright side, seminary does seem to help their graduates churn out dull sermons filled with theological interest. While having a more theologically sound sermon is always a plus, I'm not sure more education will be a panacea

Is ordination really necessary? The Navigators and other parachurch organizations seem to say, "no." The Navigators say that they are dedicated to helping people "know Christ and make him known." Kind of a churchy mission isn't it? (OK. maybe that's why it is 'parachurchy'). They have a campus ministry down at Indiana Univ. which has everything a church has (an probably a good deal better than most), at least if you are judging by what they do. They are followers of Christ, they meet together as a community for corporate worship, prayer, and teaching. They have small groups and do one on one discipleship. Hmmm. What's left? Oh yeah, no hierarchical structure and mindless bureaucracies of the institutional church.

IU Navigators

More interesting, if you had a notion that you would like to lead one of these Navigators churches, you have to go through a fairly extensive screening process. A real church would call this an ordination process--Navigators just call it an application. Rather than promising to pay their ordained ministers, they demand that they raise their own support (a shocking prospect to all you seminarians going into debt). Finally, and somewhat amusingly, they ask whether their applicants for 'ordained' Navigator ministry are officially ordained. I find this amusing because it is just one of many things the Navigators consider in their own ordination--kind of relegating church ordination to a parachurch curiosity: "Oh, you're ordained. That's nice to know. We'll be happy to take that into consideration."

See the Staff Application at this Site

Personally, my favorite part of the Navigators ordination is at the end of the application in bold and all caps. It reminds all potential ordinands that they are at will employees. Just think, Navigators doesn't even need to buy a safe for all the surrendered credentials--they just fire them, with or without cause--ordination revoked.

I'm not against ordination per se. However, I am getting to the point where I am questioning what it really means and why preachers are so protective of their hallowed status. No one seems to be asking these questions. From an economic standpoint, everyone should know that all licensing is merely a tool to regulate and often squelch competition. Lawyers, architects, engineers, realtors, carpenters, electricians, school teachers, and PhD committees. Are preachers really that different? I'm not convinced they are.

A little bit of somthin said...

Coach,
Great topic you got here.
I think that dnephew is involved in a great organization. It seems that the Navigators are doing those things on college campuses that should be done in the local church. But everything that he describes and the process in which things must be done sound more like sending missionaries to the mission field and not planting churches. Don't get me wrong, the United States seems to be the largest growing mission field in the world and we need those who will start ministries like Navigators in our colleges and universities. But I don't understand dnephews "beef" with ordination if the Navigators themselves do ordain their people? I have a call on my life to minister to those in a church. Should I not want to get as much training as possible before I enter into that ministry? Is not my time spent here at Seminary preparing me Theoligically and Spiritually what I need to go into ministry? Does Seminary provide all the answers? No. But it moves me in the direction to think theologically, to think holiness, to think Trinity. Many of the things that I am reading and being taught right now I have never heard in a church or a sunday school or a small group. And now I can go back to a church and share those things with them, to stretch them, to challenge them as they do the same for me. When it them comes to ordination I feel that even though some don't require it or is absolutely crucial it is a position that should be given the upmost respect and I feel gives a minister "money in the bank" when it comes to the church. But I am so thankful that the Navigators are doing what they are doing. I pray that they may continue to be a blessing to schools like IU. And for anyone who grew up near IU you know that IU needs all the help it can get;)

Thinking in Ohio said...

I think this is an excellent, excellent post. I agree with all your points, but especially 2, 3 & 4 which touch on the changing demographics of this generation.

I, like others who have shared here, was quickly ordained (Nazarene at the time) just a couple years out of college and into seminary. I was pastoring, of course, and I knew I was called to ministry, but I hadn't faced any "bruhahas" yet and it wasn't until after my heart was crushed in ministry that I knew (beyond all doubt) that my ordination was for life--that was after I wanted to flee the ministry and the Lord said, "No". It makes sense to me to allow young pastors to "go through the fire" BEFORE we ordain them, rather than later.

When I look back on my friends from Bible College and seminary, I see that many are ordained, but not as many are in ministry, somewhere they got burned and got out. I was almost one of them.

I, too, got a lot of "softball" questions in the ordination process and very little mentoring through my 20's. Maybe DS's are simply too busy and churches are too desperate for pastors?

Keith Drury said...

TO WESLEYAN READERS
I have just added the following enlightening footnote to the original article.

WESLEYAN FOOTNOTE on #6 “Unstationed ministers”
After writing the first draft of this, my own denomination’s leaders helpfully clarified this for me. Wesleyans do not have large numbers of unstationed ministers because after four years of non-service they become non-ministers and their credentials are withdrawn (we do not believe in eternal security either).

For Wesleyans though there are actually a distinction between those who are involuntarily deposed from ordination because of (for example, moral failure), versus those who do not opt (or are no longer led) to accept a ministerial appointment as follows:

DEPOSED MINISTERS will always be a “deposed ordained minister” unless they are restored after a process of restoration. They do not even have all the privileges and rights of being a layman in good standing.

OPT OUT MINISTERS: In the case of one who is not under discipline or threat of discipline who simply chooses to no longer serve as a minister, they become a layman. This happens when they surrender their credentials, or after four years of non-service as a minister are removed. If the opt-out ministers ever choose to try to reverse that process, they would have to meet all the requirements of ordination again like any other layman. Would they be re-ordained?(which is the actual test of irrevocable ordination) We can’t say yet in my denomination. We are still waiting for our first test case on this. There are hundreds of Wesleyan ministers who lost their credentials by non-service or voluntarily gave up their credentials because they left the ministry. Nobody seems to be aware of even one who has tried to come back into practicing ministry again so for that reason we don’t really know if they returned to ministry if we would re-ordain them or hold some sort of service where we had them embrace their earlier ordination.

Bitty said...

I think delaying ordination is, at
it's root, extremely practical
and sensible. On the whole, you're A) setting it apart as something
sacramental rather than the-next-line-in-the-bulletin; B) maybe this
will help our boards take their time in evaluating the "call" of the candidates who are liable to leave a church in ruins after a scandal; C) it healthily shifts focus from hurry to contemplation, from youth to seasoned wisdom, from rubber stamp to reflection. D) It allows more time not only for education but for theological workings-out. A well defined theology takes time that many 23 year olds haven't had yet. So, cheers to "True Ministry Waits"!;)

Justin said...

Coach
This article is a refreshing look at the process and I hope it gains traction.

I am up for my final ordination interview this Spring and will probably be ordained in the Summer but I have been really debating whether or not I should/am ready yet, for most of the reasons you discuss and a few others. Waiting longer just makes sense to me.

What advice would you give to someone trying to delay the ordination process in a denomination that is known for fast tracking? I feel like it is expected that I be ordained this Summer and if i don't I am not really committed to God or something. Maybe I am overthinking it but I am envisioning blank stares when I ask for an extension.

Reid said...

One question - why is ordination 'for life?'

Keith Drury said...

I can see that another issue is rising here beyond the subject of the age of ordination and that is the nature of ordination.

That subject is worthy of a separate article and discussion I believe... Why have ordination at all? What is ministry? Is ordination lifetime? Do we even need ministers? Are parachurch workers ministers? etc . I will certainly write on this int h e future--it deserves more than a ricochet discussion on this column regarding age of ordination.

There is another laity-rights movement today not unlike that associated with the 1830s & Jacksonian rise-of-the-common-man movement... and there is certainly a current move toward ministry-as-a-career which prods ordination into a category like "passing the bar" and perhaps enables an easy exit when one switches careers...but all those things need to be addressed in another article--and I sall do so next fall when I return from hiking the hills.... at this stage I'm especially interested in the question of the age of ordination and the question of hurring it.

Kevin K. Wright said...

I'm not ordained yet because I chose to attend seminary after college. Some of my friends who graduated the same time that I did will be ordained this summer. God bless them. If they are ready for that, then they are far ahead of where I am. But once again, the question is what do you think ordination is? Unless this question can be answered, I'm not really sure that haggling over age issues or whether or not it should be rushed is all that useful. If ordination is like getting a driver's licence, then let's ordain 16 year olds. But, if ordination means something more like such as an ontological change in the individual (Catholic and Anglicans) or a level of responsibility for things of a sacred nature (such as sacraments) then perhaps it is better off to wait. Once again, what does it mean to ordain someone?

Matt Rampey said...

Keith,

I was on the "get ordained two years after college by being a youth pastor" track, until I began to not like ministry. I was going into my last interview before ordination and I told the committee that I didn't think I should be ordained because I had no desire to be in "vocational" ministry at that point. To my surprise, I think they still wanted to ordain me but left the decision up to me!

To make a long story short, some time away from being a pastor was good for me. I went to seminary and was ordained almost three years ago. I identified so much with your column and think there is a lot of truth to it. I think ordination boards need to be flexible in how people are ordained to make room for generational changes.

Keith Drury said...

I expected far more opposition to this column that I got. Maybe I stumbled on to something here that is timely? While I do not support a firm age for ordination--either 30 or 16--I do think it is Ok if we slow down the rush-to-the-altar among some of the coming generation. Maybe these comments along with the original article will cause at least a few boards to slow down the rush and it might embolden some ministers (Like Matt above) to say "no so fast here--this means more than getting tenure--give me time."

Next Fall when I return from my summer hiking I will keep my promise to write about ordination itself, the other issue that emerged here.

Thanks again for the excellent comments and stories... I know from the Plesk records that several thousand people read my columns--but those of you who post comments make this audience seem "real" --like people in church who nod or say "Amen"or even say thanks in the narthex after a sermon. Thanks!

heidi maria said...

I think I agree with delaying ordination...

Even though I was encouraged from my freshman year at Bethany to start the process, and was recomended from my church, I didn't know for certain until the end of my third year. By that time, I was too late getting my papers in for that years interview.

It wasn't until my final semester, last spring that I had my first interview. And I've spent my first year pastoring as a "ministerial student" on paper.
I don't think I was ready to be licensed this past year. I can't wait for my interview next week, and to have a lic. added to my name this year at Beulah.
My only regret is loosing out on loan-grant funds.

As for ordination being for life... shouldn't it be like marriage, in that a couple renews their vows each wedding they attend?
I am so blessed to be a part of the Atlantic District, which has a such a rich ordination service each year.
Just ask John Symonds...

Anonymous said...

Keith,

I agree about delaying ordination. Like Erik I was ordained shortly after college since I had been involved in ministry all four years of college. One of the main reasons I have heard guys say they want ordained is that they don't have to meet with the District Board of Ministerial Development {DBMD}. Personally, I never thought it was that big of a hastle and I had good discussoins with my DBMD. Now instead of accountability through them we have these wonderful little reports we fill out at the end of the year that provide absolutely NO accountability and ask the most ridiculous questions. The phrase 'ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer" comes to mind. My wife has had me delete some sarcastic answers the last few years. Same questions same answers every single year.

There is no way to know from those forms whether a person is telling the truth or not.

I miss accountability/interaction as ministers.

Dave Ward said...

I know I am way late on this post...but I am catching up with thinking after the semester of craziness. :)

This is a GREAT article and very thought provoking. We definitely need to think through ordination more thoroughly.

I don't disagree with the "delaying of ordination" on a flexible basis that is based on a measure of maturity rather than age. I like the idea.

However, I am concerned this could turn into age-based condescension and a sense among younger ministers who are relatively mature that they can't do "real ministry" yet. How would we combat that? Or do we need to?

Since I am turning 30 this year and have had four years combined pastoral experience and 6 years traveling and speaking it would seem "late" to me. If ordination happened at this point instead of when it did for me at 24...I actually think it would feel a lot less meaningful. I would probably find myself thinking "apparently this doesn't really matter THAT much. After all I have been doing everything an ordained minister usually does with no ordination."

I am curious. I don't know which way it would go. Would it raise or lower opinions of ordination? I hope for a raising...I wonder about a lowering.

Also...I LOVED going to seminary not because I had to for ordination (like my peers from the UMC who didn't care too much about the educatino...it was just a hoop...they acted like COLLEGE students!).

But that's just my experience which doesn't matter much.

And I definitely agree it shouldn't be just an automatic "you took the classes and stuck with it for two years so you're in."

Dave Ward said...

Here's another thought...would this continue the DELAYING process of adolescence? In 30 years will we be considering making something around 35 more standard? After all by then seminary will be the new college, the forties the new twenties. That's probably just a fallacious slippery slope argument but I felt like being the devil's advocate.:)

GREAT POST!!!

Rev. C. S. Roberts said...

Ordination is forever. Ordination is an act of God through the Church.

One cannot be "un-ordained." One may lose credentials and be removed as a minister by many means, but the act of ordination by God and ordination by the laying on of hands is forever. To "un-ordain" is to say that God did not act earlier.

I don't understand the idea of making an Ordianed Elder a "non-member."

Or for Wesleyans is it that ordination is an act of the Church on God's behalf. If so, then I simply disagree and think that is risky theology.

Rev. C. S. Roberts said...

opps... I mean "non-minister"

chad walenga said...

i would have to agree with you. being raised in the roman catholic church, i look back and remained impressed at the amount of time that was put into make sure that we were ready to take the step into confession or communion.

i remember asking a question at iwu when it was time to 'apply for the major'. i don't remember who took my question, but i inquired as to how many students were actually rejected from the christian ministries program. in keeping the moment light-hearted, we all laughed at the question and resolved that those types of questions shouldn't be asked.

well, it dawned upon me that this whole thing, in a way, seemed like hoop jumping. that nobody was going to seriously step us and delay this process for maturity reasons.

so, i took matters into my own hands.

when i walked into my final dbmd meeting prior to ordination, i did not have a clear idea as to what it meant to be ordained, beyond the fact it was the end of a period of time.

the board asked me, 'what does ordination mean to you?' i said, 'i don't know yet, i was hoping you could tell me.' it was silent for at least 10 seconds.

this actually led into a nice discussion about ordination, and me asking the high jedi counsel if i could have one more year to pray about it.

anyway.

that's kind of on the same road.