I graduated from Seminary in 2012. Later that summer I got ordained. It was quite a moving experience, but by far the most moving part was my dad’s charge to me. Several of my friends have also found it challenging enough to spur on conversations among us a couple years later. I hope it is challenging to you as well.
Jordan, it is my honor to welcome you to your new responsibilities before your living Lord, and to charge you to honor and fulfill your calling.
I challenge you first to become a life-long learner. The times they are a changing, and you will need to continue to learn if you will be able to keep up and to lead. Specifically I charge you to pick one book of the Bible. It doesn’t matter which one it is but pick one book of the Bible and to make it your goal to become an expert—a living expert in that book. Likewise, I challenge you to pick a theologian, it doesn’t matter who it is, but pick a theologian, a solid theologian and spend your life becoming an expert in his or her life’s work. Let that theologian mentor you and help you in an ongoing way. I charge you to dare. I believe every person needs a cutting edge in their life—a place or an area in their life where they are pushing and stretching the boundaries, exploring outside their comfort zones. Dare. Push out. Explore the uncomfortable and continue to grow.
I charge you to lead a Word-centered ministry. Ministry is not about our words but about His. We are a people of books, but our identity is that we are a people of The Book. Spend time daily in the Bible.
I charge you to love. You will only shepherd your people well when you truly and deeply and personally care for them.
I charge you to learn and know yourself. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” And I believe you will learn how to lead your people as you allow the Holy Spirit to lead your own Christian walk. The Holy Spirit is the teacher in God’s school of discipleship. You will learn how to disciple others as He disciples you.
I challenge you to become a man of prayer. This calling demands of you more wisdom and power than you can possibly bring to the task. The real secret of success in ministry is daily dependence of Christ.
And finally I challenge you to walk your own path. God has gifted you with a unique set of talent, gifts, abilities, and dreams. Each masterpiece God creates is an original, and you are an original. Honor His design and follow His plan. All of us here wish you all and only God’s best in your ministry.