Sunday, August 31, 2014

Excellent- But Too Narrow

Here is a video I came across today, made by SALT for the Pension Fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). It is powerful and makes its point very well. A great message.

I kept wanting him to go one step further. I know it's to recruit people into the pastoral ministry, which of course keeps the pension fund financed. But I have to strongly and emphatically add a very important point.

Ordained ministry is NOT, I believe, the highest calling.

Ministry is the highest calling....

and ministry isn't just what the ordained clergy alone do.

The ministry we perform when not ordained, the ministry we receive from the non-ordained matters as much. The highest calling is that we are all to be ministers. THAT is what truly matters. Ten years ago I heard the call to change my place of ministry from the institution to beyond it. It was a move from doing the ordination ministry to a non-ordained ministry. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to say these things? The assumption is that ministry done by or in non-ordained-type settings is less important than what happens in the church. Many years ago this even applied to some type of less-than-traditional ministry. What s shame.

In September it will be 40 years since my ordination and ministry has mattered in and out of the institution in my life. For the past ten years I have done a ministry that does not require ordination. Most people who do the ministry are not ordained. It is not in a "religious" setting. It is a health-care setting and I am not there as a chaplain. It took me a number of years to accept the call from God that I felt. It was taking me out of the church where ministry happens. But it has given me the incredible opportunity of doing "ministry" in the very best and broadest sense of the word with people who we don't often find in the church. Exciting is too narrow a word to describe it.

Yes, I need my pastor(s) but the ministry is not just located in the ordained. The church needs its clergy, I think. But it is not the highest calling. I am just as "called" today as I was 40 years ago.

Take a look at the video again. Listen as he describes ministry.

Then let's go do it- all of us- who dare call ourselves by Jesus Name.

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