Something about being thoroughly tested

I am heading to the Board of Ordained Ministry tomorrow to be interviewed by a Barnabas team. If approved, I will be commissioned and have only three more years until ordination. I found it quite amazing that the United Methodist Church’s process of ordination is longer than most if not all other denominations.

The upside is that I have been thoroughly tested and tried. My theology, polity, and character has been reviewed and questioned over the past five years. I have submitted over a 60 page document which has been read and pulled apart. And it all boils down to 12 people in a room. It is times like these that faith in God is tested and found plentiful.

The downside, from the looks of our denomination, it doesn’t appear to be making a difference denomination wide. We are down from 13 million in 1970 to 8.3 million today. All the while the population in the US has INCREASED . Are the mainline denomination yesterday’s news? Will God choose to work through them anymore?

My own opinion is that God will continue to work through denominations. Our current plight is so reminescent of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. Seasons of harvest were almost always followed by seasons of pruning, dryness, and the people walking away from God. The nation of Israel was constantly being called back to God. Jesus said it this way, “repent and believe the gospel.”

May it be in our lives today. Turn, seek God, and wait for God to work.