I realize that this post is horribly out of date - that the events listed occurred several months back. In my defense, I must offer up the fact that I have been extremely busy over that time with making sure that these events were in fact going to occur, and have been diligently preparing for the life changes that will come about as a result.
That said, here's the skinny:
On May 22nd, an Ordination Council was convened at our church. I was fortunate to be able to select those individuals who would play a part, and so had a number of good friends there to evaluate me on my capabilities. I had prepared my Statement of Faith well beforehand, and a copy was given to the 12 council members. Then, for the next 3 hours, we went page by page through my statement, pausing after each section for them to ask questions of me. Somewhat surprisingly, there was not much in the way of doctrinal questions, as most of the queries involved the practical application of what I professed to real world situations. I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as talking about what I believe comes naturally to me.
After the questions were through, Tamara & I were sent out while the council deliberated and then voted. We were called back in a short while later to find that the vote had been unanimous - I was to be ordained as a minister in the Baptist General Conference!
Several days later, on May 26th (also my anniversary), I was officially ordained during the evening service at our church. Our pastor, Craig Harrison, explained the process of ordination and then called me up on stage to interview me. After this, I was given the mike and made some remarks of my own before being presented with my certificate. One of the most powerful parts of the ceremony came after this, when family and friends came up on stage to lay hands on Tamara and me and pray for our future ministry.
As thrilling as the ordination was, I was still busy with school and with finishing up my final round of classes. Those of you who know me know about the trials and tribulations that have come with my attempts to learn Greek, and this final quarter was no exception. I was in the middle of Intermediate Greek and it seemed as though I was just keeping my head above water. I eventually took my final exam, and even though I didn't score very well (I think I got a 55%), it was enough to earn me a C- for the course. Not one of my better grades, but as they say, "C's get degrees!"
I ended up with a 3.26 GPA, which is much better than I did in college, and no doubt expresses the seriousness with which I am undertaking my new profession as a chaplain and minister of God's word.
Finally, on June 12th, Bethel Seminary held its commencement exercise at College Avenue Baptist Church in San Diego. My folks flew out for the graduation, as did my oldest brother Tim, which was quite a welcome surprise for us. It was a great feeling of accomplishment, as it was the result of four years of hard work and sacrifice - both in terms of time and finances.
The day after graduation Tamara & I left for a well-deserved vacation while Mom & Dad willingly looked after Rachel & Dash. We took the train up to Santa Barbara and spent several days up there relaxing and sightseeing. What a gorgeous area! We had booked our stay at the Doubletree Resort, and due to a minor mishap were offered a free upgrade -- to a ginormous suite overlooking the beach! We were so thrilled with our new accommodations that we had to call back and see if we could have an extra day to enjoy ourselves, which was graciously given.
So, May and June will stand out in my memory as transformative months - from student to pastor, from struggles to success. We humbly give God the glory for the great things He has done, and we look forward with eager anticipation to see where He will guide us from here.