Sunday night I traveled 2.5 hours down to Columbus, OH for my Approval. Approval is the 3rd of 3 interviews that I must go through in order to be ordained as a pastor in the ELCA. I wasn’t too nervous heading down for the interview with the Candidacy Committee, but I was unsure of what to expect. I really didn’t know the people on the committee-would they be tough on me, challenge me, be supportive of me?
Pleasantly, they were all 3.
The time we spent together (about an hour) was filled with them asking me questions regarding an essay that I wrote which included a sermon, theological reflection on forgiveness, a discussion of public ministry, and a personal reflection section. The questions they raised for me were challenging and opened good opportunities for conversation. I did not feel they were out to get me, but rather out to understand me. That was reasurring, as their task asks them to recommend me for ministry within the Church.
After the time together, I stepped out of the room, they talked about me and invited me back in 15 minutes later. Their recommendation was for approval. The rest of their recommendation was extremely flattering and it gave me energy again for this ministry that will be set before me.
Their final words to me were nice to hear. As I still have one more year of school left they said, “Remember, we’re still your committee. If there is anything we can do for you, please let us know.”
With that I left, called some loved ones, and departed-approved of-not only by them, the church, myself, but also, by God.Ben