I’m sure Beverly is a very competent ministerial practitioner in her chosen field of family and children ministries. Many times an important part of anyone’s ministerial formation is using one’s gifts in a variety of contexts. The early years of my ministry in both of the home unions of the South Pacific Division were spent in public evangelism, suburban pastoral ministry, institutional pastoral ministry and as pastor of multi-church congregations, often long distances from each other. Most nights of the week were spent away from my wife and young family.
The difference between Beverly’s highly specialized ministry in a large well-oiled congregation and my ministry in a wide variety of settings and sometimes to tiny, scattered congregations and communities highlights the fact that the nature of ministry in various parts of the world differs so widely.
Perhaps for this reason alone, Adventists pastors around the globe should never be dealt with as if a one size fits all approach to “ordination” works.
Other concerns weigh on my mind, as I read this story!
Recently, at the London Unity Conference Dr Lowell Cooper outlined a suggested and exemplary policy concerning the commissioning of all Adventist leaders who have given evidence that God has first called and commissioned them. Both the Trans-European Division in 2015 and the South Pacific Division in 2016 have called for the GC to investigate the workability and desireability of such a policy. Several Unions in the Trans-European Division have already moved toward the adoption of similar policies.
At least in the case of the Trans-European Division and its Unions these moves seem to be driven by the desire to adopt a renewed anti-clerical paradigm that is quite different from the present Adventist ordination paradigm. In addition, the South Pacific Division Biblical Research Committee TOSC papers push for the creation of a similar anti-clerical paradigm. (I wrote one of these papers).
On the other hand, the NAD and particularly two of its Unions appear to have pushed for a revamping of a very orthodox Protestant clerical paradigm and its extension to both genders, rather than just one.
This state of affairs has gone on for too long. Why don’t the NAD and all of its UNIONS join Lowell Cooper, Adventist policy guru extraordaire and the TED and the SPD and form a growing critical mass urging the GC to give serious consideration to the adoption of this renewed anti-clerical paradigm.
Such a renewed paradigm has the pleasing result of putting the stress on the ministry of all believers, not just on the priesthood of the ordained Adventist clergymen. It would provide the greatest impetus to the Total Member Involvement initiative launch by the GC.