college travels

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Surprised by God!!

Recently I was invited to Moore College for my final interview for Ordination. I have to admit that I had butterflies in my stomach as I waited, with my husband Graham, to be asked in. We were the last interview for the day and had no idea what to expect. The three people interviewing us were warm and welcoming and did everything they could to make us feel at ease. They were interested in us as a couple and took time to learn about our journey of faith and the opportunities that we have in ministry.

As I had previously mentioned I was feeling anxious, although I don’t think this was apparent to the others in the room. However, as I re-lived the interview in my mind, I recognised that I had become more extroverted and had ‘lots to say’. I shared my desire to see Children’s Ministry valued by our churches, to have men and women of all ages taking up the opportunity to be trained and for ministry with children to be recognised as a viable and sustainable career move. Ordination into Children’s Ministry is one way in which I believe people will be encouraged to think long term about ministry with children.

The biggest challenge, however, during the interview was when they asked: “What’s in it for you”?

"Well, what IS in it for me", I thought? I remember replying that I hoped to join the network of ministers within the diocese, to have the support of the Anglican Church, for opportunities to teach the gospel and to be ‘a voice for children’. These are all true and yet I found that I was left feeling as if I had missed something.

Later I tossed and turned, praying, thinking, wondering, examining my motives and asking yet again. Why am I doing this? What is in it for me? SHOULD there even be anything in it for me? As I considered this question I came to the realisation that there is something in it for me. In fact there are many things that benefit me directly from this experience.

Firstly, in order to be ordained, I have embarked on further study. Without the need to do this I would have found it difficult to find the motivation to complete an extra eight subjects for the Advanced Diploma. How sad it would have been to miss out on Andy’s subject on Families and Jim’s teaching of Isaiah.

Secondly, I have been forced to move out of my comfort zone. Writing and presenting my paper, ‘Look at me. I’m a Princess!’ was challenging. I’ve always enjoyed the practical teaching components of my work and struggled to do the critical theological reflection that must stand alongside this. God in his kindness has placed me in an environment that continually encourages me to stop and think. This has not only benefited my ministry but also my personal and spiritual life. It is my hope that being ordained will continue to provide opportunities for rigorous theological reflection on all areas of my ministry.

Lastly, I have been given the opportunity to ‘live the dream’. Many years ago a handful of Children’s Ministers met in St. Andrews House to ‘dream, dreams’. As we shared our vision it was very much with the thought that we would not benefit ourselves but others, particularly our children in the future might benefit from the strategies implemented. The decision by the diocese to ordain Children’s Ministers brings to fruition one of these dreams.
So there you go – although it shouldn’t come as a surprise, God was working things out for my benefit as I sought to benefit others, without me even realising it!

Isn’t our God wonderful in that as we work for him and the building of his kingdom, he is simultaneously working in our hearts and building us to be the people he wants us to be!

It just goes to show that the “what’s in it for me” question does not have to be self-centred but rather can give God glory as we see what he is doing in our OWN lives through our ministry as well as in the lives of those we minister to!

Any thoughts?

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2 Comments:

  • Women can be ordained now...?

    By Blogger Tamara, at 10:07 am  

  • Women have been ordained as Deacons in the Diocese of Sydney for a very long time. There are a number of women serving as assistant ministers in churches in Sydney.

    The NEW thing is that graduates of YOuthworks College can be ordained as Deacons - and Kerrie and another graduate will be the first to be ordained from our College in February next year.

    By Blogger Graham Stanton, at 10:41 am  

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