Picture above from my Dad's Ordination Certificate 1964
What does it mean to be an Ordained Minister? In 1987 I was Ordained by the Assemblies of God upon recognition of my completion of theological ministerial studies required and the confirmation of peers in ministry I had served alongside and in under. The presbytery made up of district leadership: Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Secretary & Treasurer along with the Executive presbytery (a group of ordained pastors elected by the body to serve in leadership) were responsible for review of my application for ordination.
It was quite a journey to get to this point. It started with my formal education at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in 1979. After a little over a year at the University, I took a position in part-time ministry in Phoenix. During that time I enrolled through Berean college of the Bible now known as Global University. During that time I completed the first two levels of credentialing through the Assemblies toward my ordination. Accomplishing first my Certified Ministers credential, then my License to Preach credential in 1984. Each credential step was overseen by the presbytery of the Arizona District (my residence at the time).
At the conclusion of each credential level studies an exam was administered at the District office under the watchful eye of the District Secretary and Treasurers office. The exams were followed by formal interviews with the presbytery where they were allowed to ask questions about my answers on the exam, my ministry, my private life, my personal finances.
After my ordination in 1987 I re-enrolled at Southwestern Assemblies of God University to complete my pastoral ministries degree which I did in 1991. In 1994 I enrolled in Seminary at the extension campus of Oral Roberts University located at the time in Van Eyes California at the Kings University. The Seminary closed in 1995 and reopened in 1996 as the Kings Seminary and I re-enrolled and began my studies toward a Masters in Practical Theology.
I am probably sharing a lot more than you care to know about my professional studies and the subject of Ordination. I did not even mention that in 2004 the Christian Church recognized my ordination and Ordained me to serve with them while we were in Las Vegas at Canyon Ridge Christian Church. Their 12 member Elder board and 5 member management team conducted background on my ministry and ask doctrinal questions in a formal hearing. It was a joy to be received by them and they held a formal ordination service for me. To this day I hear from members of the Eldership asking how they can pray for me and my family and asking about the state of our current ministry. Love all these guys as well as the many Assemblies of God ministers who have encouraged, loved, prayed over and supported us emotionally and financially over the years.
Why tell you this? We live in a day when a person can go online today and be ordained in about 30 minutes by some organization. Some do it to marry a friend. Some do it because they feel they deserve it having been convinced they know more about the Bible than many pastors. Some do it to get a tax break. Some do not even bother to seek a formal Ordination certificate they just start a church or a work.
I do not want to say that an ordination certificate is necessary in order for a minister to be official. After all Moses never had one hanging on his tent wall, neither did Jeremiah. In fact God told Jeremiah that before He formed him in the womb He ordained him. Ordination comes from God not man. Man can only recognize what God has already completed.
I wanted to share my road in ministry with you so that you know me as a pastor/leader better. I have dedicated my life to learning how to understand God’s Word and communicate it to His people. In fact at no point in my life has education along this line ceased. The certificates may hang on the wall but I realize how important it is for me to continue my education.
15 Work hard so God can say to you, “Well done.” Be a good workman, one who does not need to be ashamed when God examines your work. Know what his Word says and means. (II Tim. 2:15)
Those words echo in my ears each day. I feel the burden of making His Word clear and understandable to His people. It is a High calling and a real privilege to serve as a pastor/shepherd. I never take my life calling lightly. I am also humbled daily by how much I need to learn and grow. The scriptures are rich and deep and the more I learn the more I realize how little I know and how much I need to rely on the Holy Spirit to teach me and teach through me as I share His Word with His people.
So many great men and women of God have touched my life in ministry. Some of them you might recognize their names others you would not know at all. Each of them helped shape who I am and influenced my ministry. My dad had a saying about the ministry: "Some are called, Some are Sent, others just packed up and went." The calling on my life to shepherd God's flock is my driving life motivation next to loving and caring for my wife and children.
You need to know that the leadership here at the Grace Place is committed to presenting each of you to God as a "workman that needs not be ashamed." Our team works hard every week and all year long to ensure that you have the best climate for spiritual growth and development. In our MiT program we are developing future leaders, ensuring that they know how to handle the Word of God and how to Shepherd God's people. If this is your home church you are in a good place...a Grace Place.