On candidacy, call and ministry: I've got some work to do

On candidacy, call and ministry: I’ve got some work to do

this morning, I had my meeting with the district committee on ordained ministry. in the united methodist church, there are a number of steps/procedures, etc. you need to go through as you discern your call to ordained ministry as a deacon or elder in the church. meeting with the district committee, or dcom is the next step after your church body has approved you.

not sure what i really expected this morning’s meeting to be. i was already feeling not-so-great about the process when i hit enough bumps along the way: my psych eval arriving several months late, people forgetting to include me on the schedule for the dcom meeting and only having a week to write the answers to the required questions and other bits here and there.

but in committing to the process, i moved forward. based on the materials i submit, my psych eval, other required documents and their conversation with me, what the dcom is asked to do is recommend me [or not] to be a certified candidate. i must not have provided enough information that the district committee needs for “determining gifts, evidence of Godʼs grace, fruit, and demonstration of the call to licensed or ordained ministry…”

they moved to postpone their vote on my certification until may. 3 months.

what does that mean? that means as of right now–today–i am not a certified candidate for ministry. can i ‘fix’ those things that need fixing to a point where the dcom will notice and cast a vote? maybe. is that the point? to get my life to appear to be in order? as my mentor said: huh ???  I thought over commitment IS what makes a hard-chargin’ entreprenuer-type pastor?? perhaps the church is trying to breed a new kind of pastor.

how do i feel? pretty shitty. yes. that’s how you feel when someone tells you, sorry, we don’t think you’re fit for this. and as someone who has had more people than not tell her that they need her, well this kinda hurts. it sucks big time.

but the funny thing is–i sort of expected that to be their answer. while i was waiting in the other room for them to deliberate, i was already preparing myself for how i would react to dcom telling me, i’m sorry, we are unable to certify you at this time. 

i had this conversation with the dr. who went over my psych eval last month with me. i told him that i hadn’t really experienced failure or someone tell me that i didn’t have what it takes. careful what i ask for, i guess, because here i am in the very beginning stages of this call to ministry and i’ve been told that i’m not ready. let me rephrase that [thanks to my sis, @JustShalom for pointing it out that it looks like i’m equating being told by the docm that i’m not ready, with failure]: i wouldn’t call this a failure by any means. in fact, it’s probably what i need to hear and experience. it is, however, one of those defining moments. like when kids are picking you for their team at recess. except you don’t get called.

so what’s next? i mentioned that i was looking for a spiritual director. i’ve mentioned i’ve been working on the sabbath-keeping bit. i’m to report back in may [assuming that’s enough time to get all those things ‘done’] for them to cast a vote then. i get the whole ‘it’s in your best interest’ monologue. not sure if that was the write one to pull out [they didn’t actually say that] at this point in the process. i was looking to be affirmed in this call by being certified as a candidate for ministry.

i wasn’t looking for praise. i was looking to be affirmed that yes, we need people like you in the church, but you have to be serious about slowing down.

i didn’t hear acknowledgement of gifts or graces or, you have a unique set of skills that the church could use. i heard: how are you going to juggle everything?

i accept the decision of the district committee on ordained ministry and trust that the Holy Spirit was working through them. i believe they did their job in not recommending someone who still needs work. but don’t we all?

so for those reading this and who feel comfortable–check in with me from time to time and ask how it is with my soul.

and for those who sent good vibes today–they were received. i will acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit in all of this–even in times of [seeming] suckiness.

moral of the story as of 6pm today: turn in your paperwork on time. and your DS really does care about you.