It is Saturday night at Annual Conference and everyone knows what that means… the ordination of Elders and Deacons. Have you noticed an ecclesiastical progression during the week? First there was the recognition of the new provisional members and their commissioning (the first step on the conference level toward ordination). The next day us old fogies – 41 of us retired from active ministry – we made room for those coming after us. And now tonight, after years of study and examination by the District Committees and the Conference Board of Ministry, we ordained Elders and Deacons to serve God and the Church. The mantle of responsibility, accountability and creativity with Jesus has been recognized and approved by the church.
Now these new Elders and Deacons will take their place in the ranks of leaders in the church and will be the one who we lead the church for the next generation. The process renews itself every year: commissioning, retiring, ordination.
With every new group of young men and women the church is renewed. They continue to tell the “Old, Old Story of Jesus and His love” in a new, new way. There are two people being ordained Elders tonight that have special meaning to me: Charles Lindquist, a former member of mine at West Bend in Asheboro, a former Marine, and former Highway Patrolman and present pastor at Ramsuer UMC, and Drew McIntyre, who grew up in Clemmons is the present pastor at West Bend. Both of these dedicated servants now have received from God and the Church the mantle of leadership and authority.
I invite you to join them and the conference in praying for them and God’s success through them each and every day. God’s speed, my friends, God’s speed. When the times get tough and the road seems rough, remember God has called you, ordained you, empowered you, and continues to walk with you every step of the way. Enjoy all God has in store for you.
Grace and Peace