The meaning of ordination varies among Christian traditions. For Mosaic, it is a communal affirmation of one’s calling into vocational ministry – a way for us to say: “Yes, we know you and we affirm your giftedness and calling to serve in this way.”
Ordination does not signify a higher calling or a different spiritual status. Ultimately, our baptism is our calling into ministry. Every follower of Christ is gifted and called to serve. But since the first century, the church has practiced the laying on of hands as an affirmation and blessing for specific tasks. So the church’s ordination of a person to vocational ministry is part of this biblical and church tradition.
Besides the good it can do for a community to see one of its leaders ordained and committed to them, it’s also important to the leader themselves. Vocational ministry can be wonderfully joyous, but also at times a painfully difficult road. There is unique pressure in providing pastoral care and leadership for a church, a stress that can affect not just the individual, but also his or her family. The ordination experience – knowing that “going into ministry” wasn’t just “my” idea, but was indeed something sorted out and affirmed by the community of God’s people listening to the Holy Spirit – can make all the difference in the life of a minister.
So ordination is an important part of Richard’s journey as he responds to his call to vocational ministry. As a church that locates itself in the baptistic tradition, Mosaic believes that ordination is a process that originates - and is ultimately fleshed out – in the local church. Because of the formative role Mosaic has played in Richard’s life (and vice versa), our community is affirming his call through the process of ordination.
We know Richard. We see him respond to God’s Spirit. We sense his giftedness for ministry. As a community, we now look to affirm that in the ancient church tradition of ordination. So, an ordination team was put together in the fall, composed of people from Mosaic, Servant Church, and other parts of Richard’s life. As Richard’s ordination team, it was our duty to listen to Richard’s story, ask questions about his calling, and corporately discern the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Essentially, we needed to answer the question: Can we together affirm Richard’s call to vocational ministry and recommend him for ordination?
And after this multi-month process, we resoundingly and unanimously say- YES! So, you’re invited to Richard’s ordination liturgy on Sunday, April 14th, at 5 pm. The ordination team will lead the liturgy, so it will represent both communities Richard pastors. And we’re excited to announce that our friend and former music pastor, Seth Woods, will be leading the band that night. Seth is someone who has played a big part in Richard’s life and sense of calling/ministry, so we’re thrilled to have him back for this special night. This will be a good night for Richard, but it will also be a good night for the Mosaic and Servant Church communities. If you call either one home, we hope you’re able to attend. And if you’re planning to come, please RSVP on the Facebook event page to help us prepare.
[photo by Coral G @ Flickr]