I was ordained in November of 1982. It has been almost thirty-seven years. Dr. Russ Barker was my ordination speaker. Parkwood Hills Baptist Church was my context for ministry. A host of people laid hands on my head and spoke blessings. Among them were: Jim Mathis, Ralph Parrish, Maricel Perez, Stanley Peeples, Mary Lunsford, Ed Lambert, Farris Goodrum, Dave McGill, Sandy Parrish, Larry Bowers, Carol Lightsey, Tammy Williams, Tim Lunsford, Andy Peters, Mary Peters, Norma Manahan, Laura Garrett, Carlton Fisher, and a whole host of other people I easily remember but do not have the space to name. It was a memorable day for me. I had endured the questions of the ordination council (I still remember the best and worst questions.), I had helped in planning the service, I had listened attentively to the ‘charge to church and candidate,’ I tried to absorb every blessing offered in word and touch, and I ended the day knowing I was trusted and blessed by a congregation that recognized the gifts and calling I had sensed in myself. I think, however, it meant as much to the congregation as it did to me. As late as last week,
I heard from two of the persons listed above. One was ‘traveling through Greenville’ and wanted to check on me. After all these years, there is still care and concern. The other lost a family member to death and wanted to talk. After all these years, there is still a deep trust and desire for ministry.
This Sunday afternoon, July 28 at 5:30pm, our congregation will ordain Dylan Rigg to the ministry of the gospel. In Baptist tradition and polity, this means we have witnessed a sense of calling and giftedness in Dylan’s life and have verified these observations through a council’s questions and examinations. The ordination service will give the congregation an opportunity to encourage, charge and bless him. He will take much from this service: memories, names, feelings and nuggets of truth. I know. I’ve been there. As a congregation, we will take much from these moments as well. Hopefully, in the years to come—five, ten, maybe even thirty-seven—we’ll be passing through a town and ‘checking in’ on an aged and experienced Dylan. Years from now, we may call him because we’ve endured a particular chapter of life and we just need to talk. Regardless of what the future holds, I hope you’ll be part of his ordination service this Sunday. It will be a meaningful moment in his life…and has the potential to be a meaningful moment in yours as well.