Tonight was the ordination service the Western New York District of the Wesleyan Church. Following our service, we headed north to Buffalo to participate. It was good to see our fellow co-laborers in the ministry. We got to chat before and after the service. It was a wonderful service and it was the first time that I have gotten to hear our new General Superintendent, Dr. Wayne Schmidt preach. I liked his metaphor that likened the ordination service to a service that we are more familiar with – the marriage ceremony. One of the parts of the service I love is when the candidate is being examined in front of the congregation – it is when those questions are being asked – I listen and renew those vows myself. It reminds me of why I was called into the ministry and what God has called me to. I thought I would share those with you tonight – as I renewed my vows as a minister of the gospel.
Dear Servant(s) of God: You have heard, both in your private examination by the district board of ministerial development and in the message which has just been delivered, something of the importance of the ministry to which you are called. You are undershepherd(s) of the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus, called to teach and admonish, to feed and provide for the Lord’s family, to bring the lost into the fold, to bring each person unto the fullness of the stature of Christ. Remember always the greatness of this responsibility and give yourselves without reservation unto the ministry to which God has called you. We charge you to pray daily for divine guidance and strengthening so that by your study of the Scriptures and your own personal growth and development you may both model the ideal of Christ and lead your people to live in keeping with His example and instructions.
Examination of Candidates
This assembled congregation represents the church of Jesus Christ everywhere as they witness your responses to the inquiries we shall make of you. In this way we shall understand your mind and will in these things, and you may also be moved to greater faithfulness in doing your duties.
Question: Is it your sincere conviction that you have been called of God to the office and work of a minister, and are you persuaded that you ought to fulfill that call by serving as an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church and among God’s people everywhere? Answer: That is my sincere conviction.
Question: Do you believe the Holy Scriptures are the fully inspired and inerrant written Word of God, containing sufficiently all doctrine necessary for eternal salvation through faith in Christ Jesus? Are you determined to instruct people from the Scriptures in order that they may be born again in Christ, become committed to holy living, and be prepared to serve for the upbuilding of the Christian community in this present age?
Answer: All of this I believe, and accept as my duty.
Question: Do you cordially accept our Articles of Religion and Membership Commitments, and agree to declare and defend them? And do you recognize your responsibility and cheerfully accept your obligation to promote and support The Wesleyan Church and all institutions and ministries approved by The Wesleyan Church?
Answer: Yes, I do.
Question: Will you with diligence minister the doctrines, sacraments and disciplines of Christ, being always ready to challenge strange doctrine which is contrary to God’s Word wherever it may arise? Answer: I will, as God enables me. Question: Do you intend to make reading of the Word and effectual prayer your earnest pursuit, and will you seek to make your lifestyle and family government exemplary so far as is possible for you? Answer: Yes, the Lord being my helper. Question: Believing that accountability and acceptance of authority is God’s design for His church, will you cheerfully accept the direction of those whom the Church may place over you in the doing of your work?
Answer: I will cheerfully do so.
Covenant with Candidates’ Spouses
It is the teaching of Scripture that a spouse shall be a loving companion in the ministry of a mate. You have witnessed the examination of your marriage partner in which commitment to the work and responsibilities of ministry has been stated. Your participation in God’s purposes for ministry through your marriage partner is important also. You will be needed to share in prayer, to extend love and compassion to all, to carry forward the example of marriage harmony and family wholesomeness. As the companion of your loved one who is now entering the ranks of ordained ministers in the Church, will you dedicate yourself to complement and embrace that ministry as God enables you?
Answer: I will, by God’s grace.
Act of Ordination
(Name) , as we lay our hands upon you we ask the Lord to give the unusual outpouring of the Holy Spirit needed for your service as an ordained minister in the Church. May God’s anointing enable you to be a faithful exponent of His Word, and an instrument for His holy sacraments, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen! (Name) , take authority to preach the Word of God, to administer the holy sacraments, and to perform the duties of an ordained minister in the Church.
Prayer for Enduement
Our Father, we beseech You to send upon these Your servants Your heavenly blessings: that they may be clothed with righteousness and with the power of the Holy Spirit, that Your Word spoken in their mouths may have success and that it may never be spoken in vain. Grant also that we may have grace to hear and to receive what they shall deliver out of Your holy Word, as the means of our salvation; and that in all our words and deeds we may seek Your glory, and the increase of Your kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Assist us, O Lord, in all our doings, with Your most gracious favor, and further us with Your continual help, that in all our works begun, continued and ended in You, we may glorify Your holy name, and finally by Your mercy obtain everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.