Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

36 Years

36 years ago today I was ordained to the Gospel Ministry. I am thankful for the churches, the staff, the lay people, the pastor friends and the denominational leaders that have shaped my ministry and service for our Lord. God has used each to shape my theology, my eclesiology, my preaching and my passion for souls. It has been a wonderful journey and I look forward to the future with great anticipation.

As I look back on that Sunday evening 36 years ago allow me a few observations concerning ordination. Some mistakenly view ordination as a mystical imparting of power to the candidate. Ordination includes not only a ceremonial laying on of hands and bestowing of a certificate, it also is a theological questioning and personal declaration of commitments to practice the "faith once for all delivered to the saints."

The theological questioning was thorough, ranging from the Inspiration of  Scripture to the personal Return of our Lord. The personal questioning began with my conversion and call to ministry and ranged from my commitment to tithe, support my denomination (I was ordained by an unapologetic Southern Baptist Church) to my commitment to abstain from the use of alcohol.

Following the questioning and vote of the church to ordain me, the church followed the ceremonial practice of laying on of hands, presented me with a certificate and then my pastor, Dr. David C. Hall, brought a charge to the church and to me. I remember vividly the charge to preach the word faithfully and evangelically, to remain faithful as a personal soul winner and to love God and the people of God.

36 years later I am more convinced than ever before that the evening of my ordination played a major role in shaping my personal convictions and personal commitments in ministry. Ordination serves as a not only affirmation of calling, it serves as a safeguard for a next generation of Southern Baptist Pastors. It should not be approached casually by a local church but rather with a great solemnity a church should call out her called and affirm their service with ordination.

In November of 1976 I committed to God's call on my life to serve Him. That night I was uncertain as to my ability and worthiness. Now 37 plus years later, as I remember my ordination, I am still uncertain of my ability and worthiness, however, I rejoice in God's grace and am thankful for every day of service to Him. I am honored to be a preacher of the Gospel of our Savior. Today I am more committed to making an eternal difference for Christ than ever before.

A final word, no preacher makes it 36 years in ministry without the support of his wife. Thank you Ruthi for your support and encouragement. All who know us would agree that I would not be where I am today without you.

Attempting to Connect the Dots...



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