Super quick post. It’s 2:30am and I have no business being up blogging, much more trying to answer Wesley’s ‘historic questions’ in ¶ 310 of the Book of Discipline. But here I am.
As part of the candidacy process of the United Methodist Church, there are certain stages and benchmarks that you reach. In the United Methodist Church, there are 18 steps before you can be certified as a candidate [next steps: continuing candidate, completing candidacy, commissioned to ministry of elder or deacon as provisional member]. This weekend, I’m making my way towards being certified as a candidate. I’ll be meeting with the Pastor/Staff-Parish Relations Committee of my local church, Beacon UMC and will be asked to complete the following questions beforehand:
¶ 311.1d – Answers to be completed before meeting with the Pastor/Staff-Parish Relations Committee of the Local Church (from ¶ 310):
- Do they know a pardoning God? Have they the love of God abiding in them? Do they desire nothing but God? Are they holy in all manner of conversation?
- Have they gifts, as well as evidence of God’s grace, for the work? Have they a clear, sound understanding; a right judgment in the things of God; a just conception of salvation by faith? Do they speak justly, readily, clearly?
- Have they fruit? Have any been truly convinced of sin and converted to God, and are believers edified by their service?
As long as these marks occur in them, we believe they are called of God to serve. These we receive as sufficient proof that they are moved by the Holy Spirit.
And then before meeting with the district committee, I’ll be asked to respond to:
¶ 311.2a The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline:
i) The most formative experiences of my Christian life.
ii) God’s call to licensed or ordained ministry and the role of the church in my call.
iii) My future usefulness as a minister in The United Methodist Church.
iv) My personal beliefs as a Christian.
v) My personal gifts for ministry.
Live the questions now, Rilke said. As I prepare my responses to these questions for my meetings this weekend and next week, I am reminded of the seriousness of this call to ministry as I confront my own faith and the ways that I live as a disciple of Christ.
Lord help me. I’m tired. How long do you think it will take me to finish? Can I get it done by tomorrow? Would have helped to have these questions beforehand but they forgot to include me in the email that went out last week. This is one written assignment I would have rather not procrastinated. This time, however, it wasn’t by choice.