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With more than two years of study under my belt, and year of mentoring, I was ready to apply with the State District Council to get my Certificate of Ministry. I collected letters of references from previous pastors, colleagues, including my previous employer, all of which gave me high praises on my ethics as well as my passion for the ministry. The preliminary interview with the local presbyter went very well, and he had nothing but positive things to say about me entering the ministry. The final step was the interview with the District Council.
I woke up that fateful morning beaming with excitement, but feeling a little nauseous at the moment, because of the stress. I walked into the District Office headquarters. I was greeted by a very nice receptionist who told my wife and I to have a seat, and that someone would be with us shortly. A tall dark haired gentleman came to us and introduced himself as one of the members of the District Council. He let us know they were running a bit behind but that we were next in line for an interview. This just added to the tension and stress of the moment.
We were finally taken to a very large meeting room. In the center was a beautiful wooden table that had to be at least twenty feet long, it reminded me of a giant surfboard. Around it were very luxurious business chairs, I would have to say twenty-two chairs total. At one end was a chair that had a back that was at least a foot higher than the others and was made of fine leather, and hand crafted woodwork. Standing in front of the chair was a man that was dressed in a nice sports coat, dress shirt and business slacks. He wore small horned rimmed glasses that seemed to give him a little old professor look, even though he was only in his fifties. There was a glint in his eye, and his teeth sparkled from the florescent lights up above our heads.
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"Practicing Patience as I Wait to Receive my Certificate of Ministry." 123HelpMe.com. 21 May 2019
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Each member of the District Council took turns asking me a series of questions. One asked me what ministry was I wanting to go into. I told him I’m open to where God wants to put me, but I know that I love teaching Sunday School and I hope to actually preach one day. Another one of the members that was sitting across the table from me, kept shaking his head, and rolling his eyes in a very negative way each time I answered a question. I had the feeling he didn’t like me from the moment I walked through the door.
Then the District Superintendent asked me about my employment history. I told him that I was laid off and that I’ve been looking for work, but with no luck yet. I then explained that my wife and I had talked about me doing an unpaid internship with a church, just to get my feet in the door and my hands wet with working in the church. I also asked them about if it was possible to waive the minimum dues/tithes that went to the District Council, while I was a non-paid intern.
Well that is when the District Superintendent went and became a Bible thumping preacher and laid into me. He proceeded to tell me how I was an abomination in the eyes of God. That a man should be the bread winner and I should be ashamed of myself. How that many of the pastors there worked a full time job, and at the same time worked in full time ministry. I told him that I wanted to work, but just wasn’t having any luck finding work right now because of the economy. Also that my wife was fully behind me on the situation, considering I had supported her endeavor to become a nurse. It didn’t seem to matter to him that since I was out of work I was the one cooking, cleaning and taking care of our son. It was like if a woman does it it’s her job, if a guy does it he is a disgrace to men everywhere. With him being done with his personal attack on my character or what he might consider a sermon, he shook our hands and dismissed us.
On the drive home my wife and I talked about how we were sure they were going to deny me my request for Certificate of Ministry. My wife mentioned how she even felt like she should have stood up on my behalf and said something in my defense. She agreed with me that the District Superintendent sounded like he believed women shouldn’t be in the workforce, but instead be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen cooking dinner for their hard working husbands. I couldn’t help but wonder how he would feel if it was his own son who was a victim of the recession.
A week later I get the letter I had been expecting. It starts out with a warm greeting, telling me how nice it was to meet me. Then the punch straight to my gut came, “We have to inform you at this time that we are DEFERRING your application for Certificate of Ministry for one year.” My heart sank so deep it felt like it had gone under the floor boards of the house. My stomach began to cramp and a wave of emotional pain crushed against my spirit that knocked me down into the chair.
Was this a temporary setback or a permanent crushing of my dream? Was the fact the economy was getting worst rather than better a sign that I might have to wait more than a year? After all they made it sound like they didn’t want to see me again until I had some valid employment under my belt. The thought crossed my mind that if we would have stayed in California I would have been approved by their District Council with flying colors
Then I was reminded of an old saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Our plans are not God’s plans. So in life you may not always get what you want. But your even more blessed if you get what God wants you to have. So I know even though I have hit a bump in the road now, in the end I will get what God wants for me. I still believe that is to go into full time ministry.