One Facebook comment I’ve received recently regarding my ordination posts (specifically the Ordination is a Stewardship Issue post) reads something like this:
Ordination is on behalf of the church, not on behalf of the individual being ordained.
I’m still not 100% sure of the point being made by the poster, but I agree with the statement as I understand it. Ordination is more for the church than for the individual. In my opinion the BoOM, as representatives of the church, are called to be good stewards of the ordination candidates. And my reasons for saying so are practical.
I have seen good candidates leave our denomination for other churches whose ordination processes are more straightforward. And I’ve seen them do it purely as a response either to the complexity of our process or to a lack of solid, knowledgeable guidance through it.
I have seen other candidates drop out of the process altogether for exactly the same reasons.
I have seen others become jaded and cynical by the time they were ordained. They got ordained, but they’re bitter about it and they have an ax to grind.
And in all three scenarios, we are doing the church no favors. We’re not helping the church when our process so unnavigable that candidates seek greener pastures or just give up. We’re not helping when we produce bitter, jaded Elders.
I stand by the statement that the heart of the solution is to put people ahead of processes. The people of our churches as well as our candidates deserve it.