I've been asked in the past about my call from God to become a Pastor in the UMC. For those who have not been on an Emmaus Walk, they will not totally understand this. Hopefully though, everyone can read all through it and gleen some understanding.
I went on my Emmaus Walk. I thought it was going to be just another weekend retreat. Someone I didn't know sponsored me and even paid my way. We were newlyweds back then and didn't have any money. On my Walk we had lots of personal private time. This was time to pray. It was beautiful in the spring time there in Boerne, TX and I stayed outside a lot. LIttle did I know it was the "wilderness" I was walking in. Each time outside I prayed for God's direction. I had a decent job but nothing spectacular. Everytime I went out and prayed for 20 minutes or so, and each time God said "Wait. There's more."
That's how it went the entire weekend. I would go out into the wilderness to pray (like the Israelites went into the wilderness), but God sent me back in each time without answers. Then on the last day when I got up in front of the whole assembly to talk about my walk, God hit me over the head with a 2x4 bolt of lightning. It all became clear. "I want you to lead my church." No timeline, no location, just be like Abraham and trust in me.
And so I did. Oh my I didn't know what I was in for in the Methodist Connectional System. One hoop after another and more discernment and more discernment on my calling. And here are the steps (I had to do them in order):
2 more years in the Methodist Church.
Discuss the call and situation with my pastor.
Read the "Christian as Minister" book. Very detailed about calling and desire.
Obtain a copy of the Ministry Inquiry Process and complete all of that book and process.
Request an interview with the DS to get grilled ...er I mean get questioned about my call. (just a joke).
Get a Candidacy Mentor to start going over this stuff to. (this is at least a year).
Criminal background check.
Another meeting with the PPR to get recommended.
A vote by the Charge Conference to get recommended.
Meet for an interview with the District Committee on Ordained Ministry.
Then if all these steps are completed successfully, I have the potential to pastor a church while I complete school.
*Licensing School is required to be completed and passed.
Why did I do it? Because that's my call from God. Did I think it would be easy. No. In the last 20 years I've seen every type of sin and discension there is in people in the church. Every church I go to I will seek God's guidance and his will for the church. There are still more steps to be taken for me in the process, and for us as a church to become what God fully intends us to me.
For all my friends, family, associates, and those I don't know all around the world who read my blog, continue to pray for our church. Pray for healing and pray for communication.
Thanks for you support. Blessings...