Pressing On | Wesley Bros

Ordination in the UMC - Pressing On - Wesley Bros

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It’s hard to make the ordination process-relational. So many candidates, so many bureaucratic decisions to be made, so few open appointments. Many people feel called to ministry and enter the giant machine known as the United Methodist ordination process. They are affirmed by their churches, and somehow make it through all the steps (including expensive years of seminary), only to be surprised to hear a clergy committee that only knows them through papers and an interview say, “Uh, you’re not ready to be one of us.” It feels like you have to be as perfect as Jesus in order to actually be ordained, and then afterwards you can be a normal human being again. Balancing grace and responsibility, mercy and holiness is difficult any day, but for those going through ordination, it can feel like grace and mercy are put on hold for you until you’ve made it through.

John Wesley’s historic questions of his preachers are pretty convicting for anybody. All I can say is that this process was so intense that I actually came close to getting cold feet before my ordination. I may not agree with or even understand all the ins and outs of the UM ordination process, but one thing is for sure…we take it seriously because we believe that the vocation of clergy is a big deal.

How do you answer these questions for yourself?

(1) Do they know God as a pardoning God? Have they the love of God abiding in them? Do they desire nothing but God? Are they holy in all manner of conversation?
(2) Have they gifts, as well as evidence of God’s grace, for the work? Have they a clear, sound understanding; a right judgment in the things of God; a just conception of salvation by faith? Do they speak justly, readily, clearly?
(3) Have they fruit? Have any been truly convinced of sin and converted to God, and are believers edified by their service?

Charlie Baber

Rev. Charlie Baber is author and illustrator of the weekly web comic: Wesley Bros. When he isn’t finding new ways to mash-up church history with modern culture, he has actual responsibilities as a Deacon serving at Highland UMC in Raleigh, NC. Check out Charlie’s site at www.wesleybros.com.

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John Donaldson
Guest

one problem with the ordination process is we are turning out a bunch of young pastors that do not believe in the discipline — they come in with the purpose of changing methodism into something else.

Paul W.
Guest
Why would we be surprised when pastors being ordained in the UMC end up promoting the same “social justice trumps scripture” values they are often expressly taught in our seminaries? We can’t expect bold theologically orthodox pastors with a heart for spreading Scriptural Christianity throughout the land when we continue to tolerate our UMC seminaries promoting all manner of questionable theological points of view, almost all sharing the common goal of promoting social work and (primarily leftist) social justice agendas while indirectly, and often directly, calling into question the authority, accuracy, and reliability of Scripture. Even when we do end… Read more »
Tim
Guest

LET’S ALL BOYCOT GEORGE’S POSTS !!
HE BRINGS NOTHING TO A CIVIL DISCUSSION.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

That “all caps” there was a nice touch, Tim. Thanks for calling attention to my contributions.

james
Guest

I am in good company, then, Mr. Shuler!! You are the champion “whiner.” Thank you and have a great evening…………………

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

No problem. Every day is better and better!

Richard Hicks
Guest
As a money manager, I would not invest in Methodist Inc because the ineffective leaders it has been producing/ hiring for the last fifty years – two generations plus. It is a clear sign of decline when an organization layers on more walls to climb prior to the laying on of leadership. Presently the UMC requires an eight year trudge through committee after committee. Talk about “stony the road we trod”! Harvard B school only takes two years. Our brightest and best and not bothering. Anyone with get up and go has gotten up and left. Frustration with constipating structures… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

The woman in the cartoon has the deck stacked against, (1) duh, she’s a woman; (2) she’s obviously Hispanic or mixed race or somesuch; and (3) no wedding ring on that fanger!!! The conservative old white men who decide things like this know all this and she knows they have her by the short hairs.

james
Guest

What in the world do YOUR 3 questions have to do with anything? The only thing the person depicted in the cartoon must answer is: Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb. To this writer it makes no difference if she is female, or what ethnic niche she may fill, or whether or not she is married. You glory, Mr. Shuler in categorizing folks and you have absolutely no clue.

james
Guest

Thank you, Mr. Shuler, for making/confirming my case: You DO have NO clue……………..

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

And unless you can show evidence to prove your point, all you are doing is bullying.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

You’ve yet to make any valid points to justify your bad behavior. As for you being silenced, that is of course your choice entirely; no one is forcing you to be silent. Other than that, your weak defense is limited to the usual whining.

james
Guest

“Bullying” has become a liberal/progressive term that the libs/progs use when a person makes of valid point to which the libs/progs disagree. “Bullying” is a very bad and destructive thing–that is for sure. But when the politically correct crowd uses the term only to silence the other side, “bullying” becomes an altar at which they worship. And, that is a sad thing, Mr. Shuller. The old adage is “the pot calling the kettle black.” Have a wonderful rest of the evening……………….

George Nixon Shuler
Guest
To have “absolutely no clue” according to James must mean we didn’t get the memo that racism sexism, etc., was over. The reason we didn’t of course is that they’re not over. There’s a joke, “There are two types of people: those who divide people into types and those who don’t.” For those of us who do, the reason is because people do fall into categories much as those who are not self-aware wish they didn’t, or clam to wish they didn’t. Deconstruction of situations by identifying such variables as race, gender, etc. serves to, to use Charlotte Bronte’s wonderful… Read more »
Dave Hurst
Guest

As a lay member of a Board of Ordained Ministry I find myself increasingly questioning the appropriateness and sensibility of our ordination process. We exact doctrinally correct descriptions of the Kingdom of God and the sacraments, and review involved ordination projects (which usually get disrupted by mid-term moves), but have substituted KSAPs (knowledge, skill, abilities and performance) for Wesley’s still-relevant historical questions. We’re generating ordained elders who are more highly qualified and deeper in debt for fewer pulpits in smaller churches. Something seems wrong with this scenario.

james
Guest
Thank you, Mr. Hurst, for your post. I am a layman as well and served for nearly 12 years on our District DCOM. During that tenure I felt welcomed by some clergy and greatly resented by most. It seems that the “fully ordained” ones–or the ones who had gone the full seminary route were the most resentful of my presence. Yes, I am familiar with the seminary route–a member of my family chose that direction–choosing Duke as opposed to Asbury because the former would afford that family member a student pastorate while attending seminary. Our family embraces a conservative belief… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Wesleyanism is a liberal-progressive mindset.

Marie
Guest
I am VERY disturbed to learn that the UMC OPPOSED a bill to END LATE TERM ABORTION. I am also disturbed by the churches attitude toward Israel. I have been a member for over 50 years and have tried to hang on waiting for change but I have absolutely no say in the decisions made by leaders and my only option seems to be withdrawal of my membership. I have volunteered to be a conference delegate, but the pastor handpicks the delegates who he knows will vote in agreement with him. Most church members don’t follow the church news and… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest
Marie, I’m not sure you’re aware of the unaces involved in such legislation. Politicians setting rules over medical procedures places an undue burden on physicians and patients. Despite the lies of the religious right, late term abortions are a rarity and always related to the life or health of the pregnant woman or due to such things as a fetus with such grotesque abnormaliiy like without a head. Politicians are simply getting into the act to fool people like you. Israel is also a very nuanced situation. Israel is considered by Arabs a crusader state and by human rights advocates… Read more »
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