Tomorrow is the meeting with the Committee on Preparation for Ministry. They'll decided if I am fit to progress in my progression toward becoming and ordained pastor in the PCUSA denomination. I had to answer 6 specific questions for them, they'll question me tomorrow according to my answers. Here's one of the questions and how I answered it. You'll notice I'm not trying to be revolutionary or controversial much at all. I'm just trying to be honest to who I am and where God has brought me thus far, and also sound a little more traditionally Reformed than I usually do. I'll let you know how it goes!
1. A Statement of his or her understanding of Christian vocation in the Reformed tradition and how it relates to his or her sense of call
I begin my vocational theology with an understanding of Romans 12:1 which says “take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to –work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering” (Message translation). This passage sums up the Christian and Reformed understanding of call. According to Os Guinness every Christian’s primary calling in life is to follow Jesus and place every aspect of life before God as a worshipful offering.
All Christians have received a call to live a missional life through the vows of baptism. In saying this I do not mean to lessen the significance of a call to pastoral ministry, but I mean to elevate the vocational calling of every Christian. We have all received meaning and purpose to our lives because of the redemptive work that Christ is doing in all creation. Every call, including the pastoral call, is rooted in the reformational belief that Christ is working redemptively in all creation.
The call to pastoral ministry is not a higher calling, but it is a very specific calling with significant impact for the Kingdom of God. The call of the pastor is centered around word and sacrament. Through the word proclaimed the Holy Spirit teaches, convicts, comforts and changes people’s lives. The pastor’s job is to faithfully proclaim the word of God. The sacraments of communion and baptism are physical manifestations of the grace of God. Through these sacraments the unseen reality of Jesus Christ as Lord is made physical. It is the pastor’s job to administer the sacraments and faithfully teach congregants spiritual truths and purposes within these symbols which hold real theological truth and action.