“You haven’t seen the last of us.” Those were the words of a member of the small group of people who interviewed me during the first part of last Saturday’s ordination interview. I wrote three posts about my process toward ordination in the Evangelical Covenant Church, which you can read here, here, and here.
Well, my final interviews were Saturday, which followed up from my earlier session at the Conference level in the fall. Saturday I met with a group of four people for an hour. They had seen my profile and all my applications. They probably saw the summary of my progress in the denomination’s classes and read through the experiences I had listed from the last four years. They pulled my paper up on their laptops and read through their highlighted questions.
I was asked about my calling to ministry and about my theology of human sexuality. They wanted me to talk about my understanding of congregational polity since I came from an African American church that was not of the same governing structure. They asked about preaching, after having heard my sermon sample and read the evaluation from my church’s Leadership Team. We talked about rest and what that looks like for me. They complimented my paper, which made my day.
After that, I left, they discussed me, and called me back a half hour later into a room with four times as many people. We all introduced ourselves and they asked me to answer one of the previous questions I had already answered so that part of the Board could hear me answer a question–the one about sexuality. Then they asked about my recreational life. I told them that my son was often entertaining, not always but often. That was my best answer in the moment.
They said that my interview and process were favorable, that they were recommending me for ordination. They smiled and I did too. It was our way of acknowledging that much work had been done. I was nervous, though, because ordination really isn’t something to congratulate a person over as much as it’s a reason to pray for a person! That’s probably why that group of pastors and leaders laid their hands on me and prayed.
Then I hopped onto the Blue line, went to my office, talked briefly with my pastor about random church things, and met with an engaged couple getting married this spring.
Upon reflection, I think the words from that seasoned colleague stuck out the most. You haven’t seen the last of us. Looking at what ministry I’ve already done, and imagining what’s next, those are searching and encouraging words. To me they mean that the ups and downs of pastoral leadership, the moments when words can’t be said or won’t be said, the frustrating times when you feel or are misunderstood–during those times–there is a community of people around you. A group of coworkers in the larger Church that you can look around for and find.