There are lots of little (and big) steps in the candidacy process, the road to ordination, in the Christian Reformed Church (CRCNA). One of them is to write a short piece describing the journey, so far, or a statement of faith. I decided the journey piece was more appealing. This piece is published in a booklet, along with those of the other fifty plus candidates, with a picture, some biographical information, and a short statement giving your reason for wanting to be ordained in the CRCNA. The whole thing acts as a catalogue of sorts for churches interested in calling a candidate, so you are supposed to sell yourself a bit.
Here’s what I wrote. It’s not submitted yet, so if you have suggestions to cover any bits I’ve missed, but seem necessary, I’d love to hear them. Grammar and spelling suggestions are great as well. 🙂
Just yesterday, having arrived early to lead worship in a nearby Christian Reformed Church, I had a conversation with a woman I had come to know through my role as a youth leader in our church and classis. We had not seen each other for a number of years. As we talked about the happenings in my life, the returning to school, the letting go of full time work, the preparation for ministry,my doubts and fears, she said, “ You’ve been on this road for a long time; I’ve seen you on it.” She is a perceptive woman. I have been on a this road for a long time and wonder, sometimes, why God didn’t push me a little harder, earlier, maybe draw a clearer picture for me of the ultimate destination of this journey.
The journey has been a long one, full of experiences, full of various types of ministry. I can describe myself as husband, father, and grandfather; as farmer, agricultural consultant, and business manager; as elder, committee member, youth leader; as ecumenical community leader, community youth worker, and soup kitchen volunteer; as perpetual student, voracious reader, vocal musician; as leader, orator, and teacher. Through each career, each gift, each experience, God has continually equipped me for further ministry, further work in the kingdom. The journey led to seminary and to candidacy, preparing me, and calling me, to go further down the road ahead.
I believe completely in the fact that God has a plan for my life, my work in God’s kingdom here on earth, and for the church in the world. I have, from time to time, felt a gentle, or not so gentle, nudge to move me out of the comfortable places and back on to the road. The move to enroll in seminary and now to approach candidacy, is not the beginning of a new journey, but, the continuation of an old one, admittedly with new skills learned and old gifts strengthened, but it is the same journey of gratitude that began many years ago when a youth elder suggested I lead the annual youth service in our rural Ontario church. The message of hope I brought then, hope in the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection of God’s son Jesus Christ, justification, offered to us by grace, accepted through the gift of faith, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is still the same today.
I trust that God, through the Holy Spirit, will continue to push and prod, to point the way. Through God’s grace, I am on a journey whose destination is totally unclear. I’m thankful for that; thankful that it is not up to me to set the ultimate objective, to visualize the future, to save souls. Those things are in God’s hands and all I can do is listen, and follow.