I have my local minister’s license now. Or I will once the district superintendent signs off on it. But I think I’m good there: I don’t think I’ve ever done anything to cause Dr. Spruce to disqualify me. Having my local minister’s license doesn’t actually change anything – I cannot baptize or marry or bury you. All it means is that my local church board and pastor recognize that I am pursuing a call and don’t see any reason (yet) to put the kibosh on it. My license will be renewed in a year provided that I’ve completed at least two courses in a “validated course of study” and still have the recommendation of my church.
This is definitely a baby step, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s baby steps or no steps at all. I put this whiny update on Facebook several days ago:
“If I were to start, right now, pursuing ordination…well, let’s just say I’d be OLD before I got there. Why didn’t I figure anything out when I was still young? No fair. Sigh.”
I got a number of encouraging and sympathetic comments (which is the whole point of whining on Facebook, right?). But the one that hit me like cold water in the face was this one:
“The time will pass either way. Why not be the 10 years older and ordained? 😉 Age is just a number.”
“The time will pass either way.” Well, it’s hard to argue with that logic, isn’t it? It’s not as if I’m freezing time by putting off moving ahead. I thank my friend Shelly for that “Snap out of it!” comment, which gave me the drive to the go to the pastor and request a chance to meet with the board. Baby step. It’s easy to put up my defenses and treat the local license as no big deal, but telling the board about my call actually turned out to to be a powerful, confirming moment. That keeps happening: the more times that I drop my ironic, self-deprecating attitude about ministry and just admit that I hear God calling, the more wonderfully real it becomes.
I left before the vote and even though I assumed it would be a yes, I sent the pastor a text message asking him. Just checking. He replied: “Unanimously declined. It was determined u have zero passion or gifts for ministry. It was unanimous. ;).” Our pastor has a terrible sense of humor.
Next baby step? Last night I asked my friends at Mom’s Night Out to start calling me “Pastor Sharon”. I have a terrible sense of humor, too.