Saturday, September 16, 2006

Calling, vocation and ordination

This past week I have finally finished answering some questions that will (hopefully) enable me to move from one who is inquiring about ordination in the PCUSA to one who is a candidate in the PCUSA. So I thought I would share some of my journey with you over the next few posts. I would love to hear your feedback.

I was asked to write a statement of my understanding of Christian vocation and calling in the reformed tradition and how it relates to my own sense of call. Here it is...

In Stanly Grenz's book "Theology for the Community of God" he states, “As Daniel Migliore noted, ordination is properly understood missiologically rather than ontologically.’ Ordination does not facilitate an ontological change in the clergy, elevating them above other Christians. Instead, the act commissions a person into leadership for the sake of the mission of the entire people of God." The reformed sense of calling is that all are called to ministry. Since all of creation is Gods and Christ is Lord over all and the Spirit gives gifts to everyone in the church then each person ought to have a sense of call to exercise dominion and stewardship as a co-heir with Christ, in the world. There is no one inch of creation that God does not claim as his one and therefore each follower of Christ is called to exercise sovereignty over that sphere of life, be it, politics, medicine, education, family or the church. The particular call to ordained ministry in the church of Jesus Christ is to equip and empower the priesthood of ALL believers to exercise their authority and rule in God’s good creation. I am called to the pastoral work of equipping others for the work of ministry in the church and in the world. One of my greatest joys in life is seeing people begin to understand the connection that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has in their vocations and callings. I am an encourager and take great pride in pointing out the strengths, gifts and passions of others so that they might use them in service to the King and the kingdom. Secondly my sense of call to professional ministry has been affirmed in my teaching and preaching gifts. I love to unpack and relate the story of scripture to the life of our community. It is an aspect of my call where I clearly experience God’s pleasure. I feel like Jeremiah who stated, “His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot (20:9). My call is confirmed by the continual desire to teach and equip others to be faithful followers of Jesus in word and deed.

I am excited to begin to practice this perspective in our community, The Open Door, as we begin to regulaly bless, pray for and comission people in their respective callings. Tomorrow night we will be comission our teachers to exercise their gifts in the sphere of education, from pre-school to master level TA's.

1 comment:

Sarah Louise said...

Love it! I like the Jeremiah verse and I thought the idea of commissioning teachers was great. Um, you have two librarians...will we get commissioned too?

On my walks I've been experiencing that "There is no one inch of creation that God does not claim as his."