Preparing for Ordination

28 01 2009

A lot of people have been asking me, “What is ordination all about?” I thought I could make things a bit easier by posting something on my brain so I could direct people here if they wanted to find out more about ordination.

John MacArthur writes, “Ordination is the act whereby a church officially acknowledges the calling and qualifications of a man for ministry.” That’s basically ordination in a nutshell. At Lighthouse, ordination will involve a really difficult examination of my life, Bible knowledge, and practical understanding of Scripture to prove that I am fit for ministry. This is important because it gives the church more of a chance to prayerfully consider my position as pastor. Remember that the early church spent time in prayer and fasting before it chose its leaders (cf. Acts 14:23). This also gives me a chance to show the church that I am competent to teach and that my views of Scripture are in line with the church’s.

Lighthouse hasn’t necessarily finalized its ordination process, but I am sure it will contain at least an extensive oral examination in which I will be tested in three major areas: general Bible knowledge, systematic theology, and practical theology. In the first section, I will be expected to know the themes and outlines of every book of the Bible. I will also need to know key chapters, verses, people, and dates for each book. In the second section, I will be asked various questions from any facet of systematic theology. The examiners could ask me questions about God, man, salvation, end times, etc. and I would be expected to answer the questions with support from Scripture. I would also have to know about other major world religions and cults and be able to refute their beliefs from Scripture. In the third section, I would be asked any question related to the application of Scripture. These questions might be asked in the form of hypothetical counseling situations. I could be asked about my views of homosexuality, women’s roles, parenting, psychology, etc. and I would be expected to defend my answers from Scripture. The entire exam would most likely be from memory without notes or open Bible (though I might suggest that at least the practical theology section should be open Bible). Basically, I will need to memorize the Bible.

It’s a long process, but I don’t consider it a waste of time. Yes, the church is busy, but this is the kind of study that I think every genuine Christian would die to be a part of. I get to dig into the wealth of Scripture and immerse myself in it for the next several months. There is a bit of apprehension just because I know things will be busy with the church plant, 10 year anniversary, missions, and everything else that’s going on in the church. But I am confident that God will see me through. I appreciate all the prayers that the church family are lifting up on my behalf. In many ways, you will be like Aaron and Hur were to Moses in supporting his arms during Israel’s battle against Amalek (cf. Exod. 17). I am confident that God will grant success through your many prayers.

After serving at LBC for the past ten years, I think it’s about time for my ordination. I knew I didn’t want to get ordained right out of seminary because I wanted at least a few years of ministry experience first. I wanted to be at a place where the church could be confident of my ability as a teacher and could trust my leadership and character. I’m so thankful for a loving church that cares for me and my family. I’m looking forward to being even more cemented into the ministry at Lighthouse through my ordination. Feel free to ask if you have any questions!