01 December 2015

So maybe I do preach?

"I don't preach" was one of the things that I made clear when I interviewed for my current position as pastor for Campus Edge. I also had no intention on getting ordained, although I did say I was willing to reconsider if it became obvious that being ordained would allow me to do my job better.

Last month, I officially started the process of seeking ordination within the Christian Reformed Church. The process involves preaching/writing two sermons (one on an assigned text), filling out quite a bit of paperwork and going through at least one interview with the candidacy committee connected to Calvin Theological Seminary. If all goes well, my desire to be ordained would be approved at Synod in June 2016 and then confirmed by my local classis (another interview, including another sermon) in October 2016. Although this might seem long, it's actually fairly quick: my MDiv degree from Calvin Seminary ensured that I have all the requirements for ordination.

Becoming a minister - and preaching, which is probably the most public part of the job - has never been something I've wanted or felt called to do (I went to Seminary because I loved studying the Bible). Back when I was at Seminary, I was an unusual voice in saying that I wasn't sure whether women ought to be ordained. Because I felt no sense of God calling me to preach, and I doubted whether I even ought to be doing so, preaching and writing sermons - the few times I had to do it for class - were a horrible experience, as it felt like I was contorting myself to be someone I was not. Hence the adamant claim that "I don't preach." I managed to complete my required 10 sermons by teaching at several InterVarsity events and by speaking several times at the Saturday night outreach gatherings of my church.

This past Thursday - (American) Thanksgiving Day - I preached in a church sanctuary for the first time ever. The previous feelings I'd had on preaching - that I was forcing myself to do something I was not called to do - were replaced with a deep sense of love for the biblical text (affirming my calling as a biblical scholar) and a desire to share the word of God with God's people (affirming the pastoral side of me that has been formed through being a pastor at Campus Edge). It was a joy to share my love for the text, and I have deeply appreciated people's reassurance that the word of God had indeed spoken to them.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

I love this! The surprising ways God works, the journey towards ordination, and the holiness of speaking God's word to God's people. Blessings as you continue this journey. (Also: preaching has a really steep learning curve, it gets easier and less nerve-wracking.)