From the Rev: Pursuing Ordination
It seems (and has been) months since last writing. The long dark tunnel of work towards ordination has consumed my extra time and in making choices I have tried to make conscious decisions about “people over paper” – a clever phrase my best mate and I used during our seminary years to help keep priorities in check.
I am currently ordained and have been for the last 2 years with the Evangelical Church Alliance. The ECA has faithfully maintained my credentials both as an ordained minister and as a licensed pastor since 2005, and fills an important need for credentialing chaplains and people in ministry who have non-denominational or small organizations without ordaining and licensing functions. I have not been ashamed in any way to be part of the organizations, but since entering into parish ministry I have found myself desiring more: more community.
Serving at Cherry Hills Community Church for the past four years, I have found myself looking for the theological and ministerial sharpness that comes from being part of a closely connected community. While some of my involvement in the community has filled that need, as I began to look around at some of the influential pastors in my life, I discovered that many of them were part of this same community – the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The EPC is a small, young denomination (Protestant) in comparison to some of the others that I have been associated with in the past but pursuing ordination has a greater significance than a mere aligning with a denomination for the first time since my seminary days. True, there has been some theological changes for me over the years, but I hold even those things in less regard for the importance of being in community.
In the process, while I have been stretched and taxed mentally and emotionally and spiritually (as has my family), there has been a deeper appreciation for the richness of the Body of Christ and the Kingdom of God. Even in my preparations for the Bible exam, I was rediscovering portions of scripture (especially around the prophets) that were giving me fresh vision and renewal in my soul.
I am certain that standing before God, I will not be asked what order I belong to; rather, He will ask me to give account for my life and ministry – first to my family and then to the communities that He has placed me in. Whilst one might serve God under many different titles (pastor, chaplain, homemaker, mechanic) or different banners (Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Catholic) I know that the best place to serve God is from within the context of community. It is my hope that in the coming years, CrossTraining would imitate that – for the chaplains involved in sport. And while CrossTraining will never ordain anyone in an ecclesiastical sense, I am excited to see the people ordained by God to serve this ministry and in our fellow ministries as well.
Rev. Brad Kenney