Those who follow this blog will know that I was perusing a License to Exhort in Classis Huron of the Christian Reformed Church. I wrote a bit about the process earlier.
Well today was the day. While I don’t usually get all that worked up about making presentations, this one was different. I wasn’t all that worried about the message (posted here if you are interested) since I had spent lots of time on it and felt that it was pretty well targeted, in terms of content and level of vocabulary, to my audience of pastors and elders. I felt that the message I was bringing was relevant to their needs and Biblically sound. I felt good about the delivery, I only got “stuck” about once.
The thing that was waking me up early for a couple of days running was the 40 minutes of questions on practica, theology, and Biblical knowledge. I never felt stumped during the portion that was done by ministers who I had visited with in advance. I was aware of where they planned to go and had prepared a bit for that, but, the questions did not all sound like ones I expected, so in some cases I was out on the wire with no net.
The real tricky bit came when they opened the floor to questions. One pastor asked a question. When my answer did not meet his expectations, he asked a follow-up, which I really did not understand. He repeated, I gave an answer which may or may not have satisfied him, but he stayed in his chair. I had four other questions or comments from the floor, one of which was a heart wrenching personal pastoral question which was really outside the scope of this license. I answered as best I could anyway. Another felt like a bit of an attack on my walk with God. I don’t remember questions from the floor at the examination that I watched in January, so this bit was a little surprising.
In the end, after a short executive session, my license was granted.
I believe that the process is too rigorous. It may be that there are enough people who are willing to expose themselves this much, that supply for exhorters can meet demand, but I doubt it.
After it all, I am glad that I did it though. If I hadn’t, I think I always would have wondered if I should have. The opportunity to preach in different places from time to time will fit well with my studies and put more of a practical spin on what I am doing at seminary. It may also help to clarify, in some way, where this journey I am on is headed.